Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg has insisted “Ukraine can win the war” against Russia as Finland and Sweden move towards joining the alliance.
Mr Stoltenberg, speaking on Sunday, said Russia is not achieving its strategic goals in Ukraine, despite refocusing troops in the Donbas region.
“Europe and North America are solidly united. Ukraine can win this war,” he said.
“Russia is not achieving its strategic objectives. President Putin wants Ukraine defeated, NATO down and Europe and North America divided. But Ukraine stands, NATO is stronger than ever.”
Mr Stoltenberg’s comments echoed the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) situation update, which said Russia was “unlikely to dramatically accelerate its offensive”.
“Russia’s Donbas offensive has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule,” its latest update said.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 15 May 2022
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/VBPIqyrgA5
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/n6dBVZHAos
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) May 15, 2022
After initial progress stalled during the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has since refocused troops in the eastern region of the country, in areas such as Mariupol and Donetsk.
The MoD concluded: “Russian forces are increasingly constrained by degraded enabling capabilities, continued low morale and reduced combat effectiveness.
“Many of these capabilities cannot be quickly replaced or reconstituted, and are likely to continue to hinder Russian operations in Ukraine. “
The country, which shares a 810-mile border with Russia, had previously opted against joining the allinace but hailed “a new era” for the state.
Finland’s president Sauli Niinisto said: “A protected Finland is being born as part of a stable, strong and responsible Nordic region.
“We gain security and we also share it. It’s good to keep in mind that security isn’t a zero-sum game. This is a historic day. A new era begins.”
Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats also announced their decision to back Nato membership to the 30-nation alliance.
Away from Nato’s expanding membership, in his nightly address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised those defending the Donbas.
He also said Russian forces were withdrawing from the city of Kharkiv - the second-largest in Ukraine.
Mr Zelensky added that troops had now begun to reclaim areas and have moved back into six towns over the past day.