The Ukraine conflict is using an “enormous amount” of munitions and western allies must increase arms production soon to ensure it is kept fully supplied in its war against Russia, the secretary general of Nato has said.
The heavy use of weapons on both sides is a sign that Russian President Vladimir Putin is digging in, Jens Stoltenberg said.
Mr Stoltenberg said Nato allies must maintain their own stockpiles of weapons while continuing to supply Kyiv with the armaments it needs.
“For the artillery, we need an enormous amount of ammunition, we need spare parts, we need maintenance,” he told BBC Radio 4.
“This is a huge undertaking. We need to ramp up production and that is exactly what the Nato allies are doing.
“It is a core responsibility for Nato to ensure that we have the stocks, the supplies, the weapons in place to ensure our own deterrence and defence, but also to be able to continue to provide support to Ukraine for the long haul.”
Russia’s bombardment of civilian areas in Ukraine showed little sign of abating, with more missile strikes over the weekend on the capital, Kyiv, and on the eastern city of Kherson.
Mr Stoltenberg said that while the Ukrainians enjoyed the upper hand in recent fighting, there were indications that the Russians were regrouping for a renewed offensive.
“Russia has shown no sign of giving up its overall goal of taking control over Ukraine,” he said.
“The Ukrainian forces have had the momentum for several months but we also know that Russia has mobilised many more forces. Many of them are now training.
“All that indicates that they are prepared to continue the war and also potentially try to launch a new offensive.”
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While Mr Stoltenberg said he believed the war would “most likely” end through negotiations, it was essential to ensure the Ukrainians are able to enter any talks from a position of strength.
“What Ukraine can achieve around that table will depend on the strength on the battlefield,” he said.
“If we want a negotiated solution that ensures that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign, independent, democratic state in Europe, then we need to provide support for Ukraine now.”
Earlier, the prosecutor who led the case against Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic called for Mr Putin to be tried for war crimes.
Sir Geoffrey Nice, who worked with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, said the case against the Russian leader “couldn’t be clearer”.
“It is crimes against humanity because civilian targets should never be bombed or otherwise attacked,” he told BBC Radio 4.
“There can be no doubt about the chain of command leading directly to Putin. These are his soldiers. He’s a guilty man.”
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Sir Geoffrey said he was surprised prosecutors and politicians were not stating this more openly and expressed concern that Mr Putin could be exempt from trial as part of a deal to end the war.
“It quite possibly is the case that there will be a settlement agreement drafted by someone or other, not by the Ukrainians, which will have a clause in it saying Putin will not be tried,” he said.
“That’s an appalling prospect and it will be a complete denial of justice to the people of Ukraine.”
Source : The National News