Don’t ‘make mistake’ of underestimating Russia – NATO chief

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NATO should not make the mistake of underestimating Russia in spite of recent retreats in Ukraine and the withdrawal from Kherson, alliance Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, warns.

“The Russian armed forces retain significant capabilities as well as a large number of troops,’’ Stoltenberg said during a visit to the Netherlands.

“Russia has demonstrated their willingness to bear significant losses and they have also shown extreme brutality,’’ the alliance chief said, referencing horrific scenes in Ukraine’s liberated eastern regions.

The top NATO official was speaking after a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister, Wopke Hoekstra and Dutch Defence Minister, Kajsa Ollongren, to discuss the alliance’s ongoing support to Ukraine.

Stoltenberg welcomed a 120-million euros ($120 million) contribution from the Netherlands to support Ukraine.

Hoestrka also announced 20 million euros in funding for NATO’s assistance fund for Ukraine.

Another 25 million euros is to go towards combat food rations, first aid, ambulances, fuel trucks and drone jammers for Ukraine, Ollongren added.