NATO chief fears Ukraine battle might develop into a wider battle

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KYIV, Ukraine — The pinnacle of NATO expressed fear that the combating in Ukraine might spin uncontrolled and develop into a battle between Russia and NATO, in response to an interview launched Friday.

“If things go wrong, they can go horribly wrong,” NATO Secretary-Common Jens Stoltenberg mentioned in remarks to Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

“It is a terrible war in Ukraine. It is also a war that can become a full-fledged war that spreads into a major war between NATO and Russia,” he mentioned. “We are working on that every day to avoid that.”

Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway, mentioned within the interview that “there is no doubt that a full-fledged war is a possibility,” including that it was necessary to keep away from a battle “that involves more countries in Europe and becomes a full-fledged war in Europe.”

The Kremlin has repeatedly accused NATO allies of successfully changing into a celebration to the battle by offering Ukraine with weapons, coaching its troops and feeding navy intelligence to assault Russian forces.

In feedback that mirrored hovering tensions between Russia and the West, President Vladimir Putin urged Moscow would possibly consider using what he described because the U.S. idea of a preemptive strike.

“Speaking about a disarming strike, maybe it’s worth thinking about adopting the ideas developed by our U.S. counterparts, their ideas of ensuring their security,” he mentioned.

Lengthy earlier than the Ukraine battle, the Kremlin expressed concern about U.S. efforts to develop the so-called Immediate World Strike functionality that envisions hitting an adversary’s strategic targets with precision-guided typical weapons anyplace on the earth inside one hour.

Putin famous that such a strike might knock out command services.

“We are just thinking about it, they weren’t shy to openly talk about it during the past years,” he mentioned, claiming that Moscow’s precision-guided cruise missiles outperform related U.S. weapons and Russia has hypersonic weapons that the U.S. hasn’t deployed.

Putin additionally mentioned he was disenchanted with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s latest feedback {that a} 2015 peace deal for jap Ukraine negotiated by France and Germany had purchased time for Ukraine to arrange for the 2022 battle.

“I assumed that other participants of the process were sincere with us, but it turned out that they were cheating us,” he mentioned. “It turned out that they wanted to pump Ukraine with weapons and prepare for hostilities.”

Putin argued that Merkel’s assertion confirmed that Russia was proper in launching what he calls the “special military operation” in Ukraine. “Perhaps we should have started it earlier,” he mentioned.

He additionally mentioned her feedback additional eroded Russia’s belief within the West, complicating any attainable peace talks.

“Eventually we will have to negotiate an agreement,” he mentioned. “But after such statements there is an issue of trust. Trust is close to zero. I repeatedly have said that we are ready for an agreement, but it makes us think, think about whom we are dealing with.”

In separate feedback by way of video hyperlink to protection and safety chiefs of a number of ex-Soviet nations, Putin once more accused the West of utilizing Ukraine as a software towards his nation.

“For many years, the West shamelessly exploited and pumped out its resources, encouraged genocide and terror in the Donbas and effectively turned the country into a colony,” he mentioned. “Now it’s cynically using the Ukrainian people as cannon fodder, as a ram against Russia by continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons and ammunition, sending mercenaries and pushing it to a suicidal track.”

Ukrainians say they’re combating for freedom towards an undesirable invader and aggressor.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by cellphone Friday and each “agreed on the importance of preempting Russia’s insincere calls for a ceasefire,” Sunak’s workplace mentioned. “The prime minister added that the Kremlin needed to withdraw its forces before any agreement could be considered.”

Heavy combating continued Friday in jap and southern Ukraine, principally in areas that Russia illegally annexed in September.

Ukraine’s presidential workplace mentioned 5 civilians have been killed and one other 13 have been wounded by Russian shelling within the final 24 hours.

Donetsk regional Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko mentioned the Russians had been urgent an offensive on Bakhmut with day by day assaults, regardless of taking heavy casualties.

“You can best describe those attacks as cannon fodder,” Kyrylenko mentioned in televised remarks. “They are mostly relying on infantry and less on armor, and they can’t advance.”

In neighboring Luhansk in jap Ukraine, regional Gov. Serhiy Haidai mentioned the Ukrainian navy was pushing its counteroffensive towards Kreminna and Svatove.

He voiced hope Ukraine can reclaim management of Kreminna by yr’s finish, after which by the tip of winter reclaim areas within the area that had been captured by Russia because the battle started.

Within the south, Kherson regional Gov. Yaroslav Yanyshevych mentioned eight civilians had been wounded by Russian shelling within the final 24 hours, and within the metropolis of Kherson that Ukraine retook final month, a youngsters’s hospital and a morgue had been broken.

Within the neighboring Zaporizhzhia area, Russian forces shelled Nikopol and Chervonohryhorivka, that are throughout the Dnieper River from the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy plant.

Zaporizhzhia Gov. Valentyn Reznichenko mentioned Russian shelling broken residential buildings and energy traces.

Within the Kharkiv area of northeastern Ukraine, Gov. Oleh Syniehubov mentioned three civilians had been wounded by Russian shelling, with one later dying.

Related Press author Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Jill Lawless in London contributed.

Comply with AP’s protection of the battle in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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