NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Tuesday remarks has warned ahead of another winter of expected tough fighting in Ukraine that the alliance must not allow the war in Gaza to interfere with support for Kiev forces in its war against Russia.
“A new winter is approaching, and we must expect new attacks against energy supplies and other critical infrastructure. There are no signs that Russia is planning for peace. On the contrary, they are planning for more war. Therefore, we must continue to support Ukraine. That means more weapons,” he told officials gathered for the Nordic Council in Oslo, Norway. “And I say that because I want peace in Ukraine.”
The words also come as Ukraine ‘fatigue’ in the West has turned to something more like distraction or apathy, given that for the past three weeks the global news cycle has zeroed in on Israel-Gaza, and tensions in the broader Middle East.
The war in Gaza “must not lead to a weakening of our will and ability to support Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.
But he took the opportunity to warn both Iran and Hezbollah against interference, which could broaden the Gaza war:
“It is important that this war does not escalate into a major regional conflict. Iran, Hezbollah and other groups must not abuse the situation and escalate it further.”
A Monday article in TIME underscored that the Zelensky government is facing a severe manpower shortage, so much so that even with ample weapons supplies, “we don’t have the men to use them,” according to a Zelensky aide’s words.
It’s not just media which has changed focus to Middle East events, but humanitarian organizations and international institutions have by and large shifted their current priorities as well, from the UN, to the WHO, to Human Rights Watch, and others.
The original Biden administration line was that funding for Ukraine is key because China will learn lessons about US resolve. New Biden admin line: funding for Ukraine * and Israel* is key because China is watching. “For our adversaries,” Blinken says, “this is all one fight.” pic.twitter.com/t9rmhItzs1
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) October 31, 2023
Over the past three weeks of the Israel-Gaza crisis, Pentagon leaders have repeatedly sought to emphasize that the US can sufficiently support both Israel and Ukraine. Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder has lately stressed United States will still stand with Ukraine “and we will continue to have their backs.” And separately Secretary of State Blinken has said that China is “watching”.