Support for Ukraine bringing 'hard times' for Europe: Stoltenberg
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says Europe supplying weapons to Kiev is draining the continent's resources and putting it in a difficult situation.
The West must continue delivering aid to Ukraine - both military and financial - though this is draining Europe due to the high costs it incurs for Europeans, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told German newspaper Welt.
"Rising food and electricity bills signify hard times for many households in Europe," Stoltenberg told the German outlet.
According to the NATO chief, EU member states should continue sending military supplies to Kiev since "the best way to maintain peace is to support Ukraine."
Stoltenberg claimed that the air defense systems and howitzers that Germany donated to Ukraine were "saving lives" to back his point.
Since the war began in Ukraine, Western countries such as the US and Britain, as well as European states, have supplied Kiev with billions of dollars worth of weaponry, adding fuel to the fire in the war.
This comes after reports from US media said that as Washington and its western allies continue to pump weapons into Kiev, maintenance of the armaments is increasingly becoming a headache.
Weapons overused by the Ukrainian military are either being wiped out or damaged during the conflict.
At least one-third of the 350 US-made howitzers sent to Ukraine are already out of action, according to defense officials in the US. Howitzers fire 152-millimeter ammunition and date back to the Soviet era.
The Pentagon has also sent Ukraine 142 M777 howitzers, which is enough to supply 8 battalions, according to the report.
Citing US and Ukrainian officials, the report noted that dozens of howitzers were towed off to be repaired. Most of the damaged armaments could not be maintained on the field, and the Ukrainian military is not up for the job. Moreover, Pentagon's European Command finds maintaining the armaments a headache.
Germany has been a major supporter of Kiev's since the start of the war, with Ukraine becoming the second-largest importer of German weapons after Berlin approved the exportation of $584 million worth of weaponry to Ukraine within the first 6 months of 2022.
Meanwhile, in the first half of the year, the EU supported Ukraine with €1.2 billion in loans and billions in arms and weapons deliveries, and in July it agreed to provide an assistance package worth €9 billion of which €1 billion were dispatched last summer and another €5 billion are already approved but not yet delivered.
Germany went against its longtime principle of not sending arms to a conflict zone, a government spokesperson said earlier in the week, adding that the German government always believed that Russia should not be allowed to win.
A German government official said earlier that the European Union sought to finance an aid package worth some €8 billion by September for Ukraine, which goes to show that the EU found it easier to finance arms than aid for refugees.
Despite pledging more assistance, senior EU officials admit that there will most likely be a "crunch point" in the fall or early winter when EU countries begin to feel acute domestic economic pain as a result of the crisis.
Germany has also been bearing the brunt of the Ukraine crisis more than anyone else, with the head Klaus Müller saying earlier in the month that though Germany has decent stockpiles of gas, the winter can be quite the long one for the country.