- NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned that Putin achieving his goals in Ukraine sets an example for Beijing.
- China wants to see how long the US can keep up support to Ukraine, Stoltenberg said.
- He urged the West to continue aid to Ukraine as funding for Kyiv is questioned in Congress.
China is closely watching how long the US and Europe can maintain support for Ukraine, Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said on Sunday.
In an interview with Shannon Bream on Fox News, Stoltenberg urged the West to continue sending aid to Kyiv as support for the war wanes in Congress.
“It is important that Putin doesn’t get his way in Ukraine, because that will embolden other authoritarian powers,” Stoltenberg said. “Today it’s Ukraine, tomorrow it may be Taiwan.”
GOP congressional leaders, concerned by a surge in undocumented migrants entering the US, have increasingly used approval of aid to Ukraine as a bargaining chip for stricter immigration control.
Stoltenberg said the southern US border crisis is “important in the United States as it is in many other NATO countries.”
But he said investing in helping Ukraine resist Moscow’s advances is a “good deal” for the Western world.
“We need to realize that this is closely watched in Beijing,” he said. “So it’s not only making Europe more vulnerable but all of us, also the United States, more vulnerable if Putin gets what he wants in Ukraine.”
A further advantage for the US is that it can “destroy and degrade the Russian army” using only a portion of the defense budget, Stoltenberg added.
A US intelligence assessment also found that Russia has lost 87% of the ground troops and two-thirds of the tanks it fielded for its initial invasion of Ukraine, CNN reported in December.
And given recent casualty figures, Russia is on track to lose 500,000 soldiers by the end of 2024, UK intelligence said in early January.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is often compared to a potential assault by Beijing on Taiwan and has surfaced theories as to how the Pentagon may respond to such a scenario.
On Saturday, top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi warned that tensions over Taiwan and fears that the island may declare independence are now the biggest challenge for relations between both nations.