Ukraine counterattack effective not beginning of war’s end: NATO

Despite the effective Ukrainian counteroffensive, NATO’s Stoltenberg warns that nations should prepare for the long haul.

Destroyed Russian armored tank.
Destroyed Russian armoured personnel carriers in the Kharkiv region [Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

Ukraine’s counterattack against Russian troops is effective but likely does not signal the war’s end, according to NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

He told BBC Radio on Friday: “It is of course, extremely encouraging to see that Ukrainian armed forces have been able to take back territory and also strike behind Russian lines.

“At the same time, we need to understand that this is not the beginning of the end of war, we need to be prepared for the long haul.”

Ukraine recently launched a southern counteroffensive around Kherson.

Videos shared on social media and satellite images show Ukrainian attacks on Russian supply lines, ammunition bases and even the Saki air base in Crimea.

By September, the counteroffensive surprised Russia on the eastern front with gains in the Kharkiv region.

Ukraine seized the sole rail hub Russia was using to supply their front line in the northeast of the country.

Meanwhile, Russia-appointed officials in occupied Ukrainian towns acknowledged some defeat.

The counterattack marked one of the most significant territorial shifts since Russian troops were repelled from Kyiv in the earliest days of the invasion.

On Tuesday, Russia announced “massive strikes”, including at the Kryvyi Rih dam.

During the attack on the dam, about 100 homes were flooded in what is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown.

After recapturing Izyum, Ukrainian authorities say they found mass graves in the woods.

In his nightly address, Zelenskyy said: “The world must bring Russia to real responsibility for this war.”

Graves in Izyum
An improvised cemetery in the town of Izyum [Oleksandr Khomenko/Reuters]
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies