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German president says bracing for ‘long’ Ukraine war

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German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday said he was bracing for a “long” war in Ukraine, as Russia’s offensive entered its second week.

Speaking in Lithuania, where he visited German troops deployed in the Baltic NATO member, Steinmeier said he sees “no signs that the war will be over soon”.

“It will probably be long and we will be patient,” he told reporters, alongside his Lithuanian counterpart at the Rukla military base in the country’s centre.

Calling the war “a violation of international law,” he said “no one in the course of history will be able to justify what is happening in Ukraine now”.

“That parents are losing their children, that their children are losing their parents, that people are losing everything,” he added.

Germany leads the NATO’s multinational battle group in Lithuania and recently increased its troop numbers there.

Steinmeier on Thursday offered reassurance to the Baltic nation, which fears Russia will target it next if Ukraine falls.

“Alliance solidarity works without “ifs or buts,” he said.

Speaking at a separate event in Vilnius, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told reporters that NATO needed to shift “from deterrence to defence”.

“For that, we need a change in political stance and some practical means,” he said after meeting UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in the Lithuanian capital.

“These means are essential to Baltic states in order for the aggressor to face a response as soon as they decide to test NATO’s resilience,” Landsbergis added.

Truss said the West has to “ensure Putin fails in this horrific enterprise and his ambitions go no further”.

She added that the three formerly Soviet-ruled Baltic states are “aware of what is at stake, having long lived in the shadow of Russia’s aggression”.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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