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Morale is worrying as NATO chief warns war could last ‘years’ – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) – Four months of war in Ukraine appear to be weighing on the morale of troops on both sides, leading to desertions and rebellions against officers’ orders, British defense officials said on Sunday. The NATO chief warned that the fighting could drag on “for years”.

“Combat units from both sides are engaged in intense fighting in the Donbass and are likely to experience shaky morale,” Britain’s MoD said in its daily assessment of the war.

“Ukrainian forces have likely suffered desertions in recent weeks,” the assessment said, adding that “Russian morale most likely remains particularly troubled.”

It states: “Cases in which entire Russian units disobey orders and armed clashes between officers and their troops continue to occur.”

Separately, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War, Ukraine’s main intelligence directorate released intercepted phone calls in which Russian soldiers complained about conditions at the front, poor equipment and general staff shortages.

In an interview published in the German weekly Bild am Sonntag on Sunday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that “nobody knows” how long the war could last. “We have to be prepared for it to last for years,” he said.

He also urged allies “not to weaken support for Ukraine, even if the cost is high, not only in terms of military aid but also because of the rise in energy and food prices.”

In recent days, Russian gas giant Gazprom has cut supplies to two major European customers – Germany and Italy. In the case of Italy, energy officials are expected to squabble over the situation this week. The boss of Italian energy giant ENI said on Saturday that Italy should get through the coming winter on additional gas from other sources, but warned Italians that “restrictions” on gas consumption may be needed.

Germany will limit the use of gas to generate electricity amid concerns about possible shortages due to a reduction in supplies from Russia, the country’s economy minister said on Sunday. Germany has tried to fully utilize its gas storage facilities ahead of the cold winter months.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Germany would try to offset the move by increasing the burning of coal, a more polluting fossil fuel. “It’s bitter, but in this situation it’s simply necessary to reduce gas consumption,” he said.

However, Stoltenberg emphasized that “the cost of food and fuel is nothing compared to what Ukrainians pay every day at the front”.

Stoltenberg added that if Russian President Vladimir Putin were to achieve his goals in Ukraine, as in the 2014 annexation of Crimea, “we will have to pay an even higher price.”

The British Ministry of Defense said both Russia and Ukraine continued to conduct heavy artillery bombardments on axes north, east and south of the Sieverodonetsk pocket, but with little change on the front line.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said by telegram on Sunday: “It is a very difficult situation in Sieverodonetsk, where the enemy conducts round-the-clock aerial reconnaissance with drones in the middle of the city, regulates fire and quickly adapts to our changes . ”

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Sunday that Russian and separatist forces had taken control of Metolkine, a settlement east of Sievierodonetsk.

Bakhmut, a city in Donbass, lies 55 kilometers southwest of the twin cities of Lysyhansk and Siervierodonetsk, where fierce military clashes raged. Russian artillery hits Bakhmut every day.

But Bakhmut’s people are trying to go about their daily lives, including shopping at markets that have reopened in recent weeks.

“Basically, it can be quiet in the mornings,” said a local resident, Oleg Drobelnnikov. “The shelling starts at 7 or 8 p.m..” Still, he said, it’s been pretty quiet for the past 10 days or so.

“You can buy groceries at small farmers’ markets,” said Drobelnnikov, a teacher. “It’s not a problem. Educational institutions, such as schools or kindergartens, are basically not working due to the situation. The institutions have moved to other regions. There is no work here.”

Eastern Ukraine has been the main target of Russian attacks for more than two months.

On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled south from Kyiv to visit troops and hospital workers in the Black Sea regions of Mykolaiv and Odessa. He presented awards to dozens of people at each stop, shaking hands and continually thanking them for their service.

Zelenskyi vowed to defend the south of the country in a recorded speech aboard a train back to Kyiv.

“We will not give away the South to anyone, we will return everything that is ours and the sea will be Ukrainian and safe.”

He added: “Russia does not have as many missiles as our people would like to live.”

Zelenskyy also condemned the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports amid weeks of fruitless negotiations on safe corridors to allow millions of tons of silo grain to be shipped ahead of the upcoming new harvest season.

In other attacks in the south, Ukraine’s Southern Military Task Force said on Sunday that two people were killed in the shelling of the Galitsyn community in the Mykolaiv region and that shelling of the Bashtansky district continues.

The Russian Defense Ministry said sea-landing missiles destroyed a plant in the city of Mykolayiv that stored western-supplied howitzers and armored vehicles.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed concern “that there is a bit of Ukraine fatigue around the world”.

“It would be catastrophic if Putin won. He would love nothing more than to say, ‘Let’s freeze this conflict, let’s have a truce,'” Johnson said on Saturday, a day after a surprise visit to Kyiv where he met with Zelenskyy and offered further help with military training .

Heavy weapons supplied from the west reach the front lines. But Ukraine’s leaders have insisted for weeks that they need more guns, and sooner.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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https://whdh.com/news/morale-is-concern-as-nato-chief-warns-war-could-last-years/ Morale is worrying as NATO chief warns war could last ‘years’ – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Nate Jones

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