Troop Morale A Concern As NATO Chief Warns Ukraine War Could Last ‘Years’

Four months of severe warfare in Ukraine appears to be straining both sides’ morale, prompting desertions and defiance of officers’ orders, according to British defense sources. The conflict might continue on for “years,” according to NATO‘s top official.

In its daily assessment of the war, Britain’s defense ministry noted, “Ac22tion units from both sides are committed to heavy combat in the Donbas and are likely experiencing varied morale.”

“Ukrainian forces are likely to have experienced desertions in recent weeks,” according to the assessment, but “Russian morale is extremely likely to remain particularly affected.”

“Cases of entire Russian units defying commands and armed standoffs between officers and their troops continue to occur,” the statement stated.

According to a report by the Institute for the Study of War, the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate disclosed intercepted phone calls in which Russian soldiers complained about frontline conditions, insufficient equipment, and a general lack of manpower.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview published on Sunday in the German monthly Bild am Sonntag that “nobody knows” how long the war will endure. He stated, “We need to be prepared for it to persist for years.”

He also asked partners not to “weaken support for Ukraine, even if the costs are considerable, not just in terms of military help, but also in terms of rising energy and food prices.”

Gazprom, the Russian gas supplier, has cut supply to two key European customers, Germany and Italy, in recent days. Energy officials in Italy are due to meet this week to discuss the situation. Italy should make it through the winter with more gas obtained from other sources, according to the director of Italian energy giant ENI, but he warned Italians that “restrictions” on gas use may be necessary.

Germany’s economy minister said on Sunday that the country will limit its usage of gas for electricity production due to fears about possible shortages caused by a fall in supplies from Russia. Germany has been attempting to fill its gas storage facilities to full in preparation for the next chilly winter months.

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Germany will try to compensate for the shift beed to the everyday costs borne by Ukrainians on the front lines,” Stoltenberg said.

Furthermore, if Russian President Vladimir Putin achieves his goals in Ukraine, as he did when he annexed Crimea in 2014, “we will have to pay an even bigger price,” Stoltenberg continued.

Both Russia and Ukraine have continued to perform intense artillery bombardments on axes to the north, east, and south of the Sieverodonetsk enclave, according to the British defence ministry, with little change in the front line.

“It is a really difficult situation in Sievierodonetsk, where the enemy in the centre of the city is performing round-the-clock aerial reconnaissance with drones, adjusting fire, swiftly responding to our modifications,” Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai stated through Telegram on Sunday.

Russian and separatist forces have gained control of Metolkine, a village immediately east of Sievierodonetsk, according to Russia’s defence ministry.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy travelled south from Kyiv on Saturday to visit military and hospital staff in the Black Sea regions of Mykolaiv and Odesa. At each trip, he presented honours to scores of people, shaking their hands and thanking them for their efforts.

According to a Ukrainian army briefing on Sunday, “the enemy carried out fire damage on units of the Defense Forces in the areas of the communities of Pravdyne, Posad-Pokrovskoe, and Blahodatne with cannon and rocket artillery some time after Zelenskyy left Mykolaiv.”

Two persons were killed in shelling of the Galitsyn hamlet in the Mykolaiv area on Sunday, according to Ukraine’s southern military operational command, while shelling of the Bashtansky district is still ongoing.

According to Russia’s defence ministry, seaborne missiles destroyed a factory in Mykolaiv city that housed howitzers and armoured vehicles supplied by the West.

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, voiced concern that “a touch of Ukraine fatigue is starting to set in throughout the world,” and urged support for Ukrainian attempts to halt the Russian invasion.

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“It would be a disaster if Putin were to win. Johnson remarked on Saturday that he’d love nothing more than to say, ‘Let’s freeze this fight, let’s have a cease-fire,'” a day after a surprise visit to Kyiv, where he met with Zelenskyy and pledged further aid and military training.

Heavy weaponry supplied by the West are making their way to the front lines. Ukraine’s officials, on the other hand, have been insisting for weeks that they need more weaponry, and they need them now.

Despite his condemnation of armaments build-ups, Pope Francis added his own warning to anyone who would lose sight of Ukraine, which he believes deserves to defend itself.

“And let us not forget the martyred Ukrainian people at this time,” Francis said in St. Peter’s Square to the crowd. “What did I do today for the Ukrainian people?” he prompted them to question.

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