BRUSSELS — Ukraine is locked in an existential battle for its survival almost two years into its war with Russia and Western armies and political leaders must drastically change the way they help it fend off invading forces, a top NATO military officer said on Wednesday.
At a meeting of the 31-nation alliance's top brass, the chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, also said that behind President Vladimir Putin's rationale for the war is a fear of democracy, in a year marked by elections around the world.
Over two days of talks in Brussels, NATO's top officers are expected to detail plans for what are set to be the biggest military exercises in Europe since the Cold War later this year. The wargames are meant as a fresh show of strength from NATO and its commitment to defend all allied nations from attack.
As the war bogs down, and with U.S. and European Union funding for Ukraine's conflict-ravaged economy held up by political infighting, Bauer appealed for a “whole of society approach” to the challenge that goes beyond military planning.
“We need public and private actors to change their mindset for an era in which everything was plannable, foreseeable, controllable and focused on efficiency to an era in which anything can happen at any time. An era in which we need to expect the unexpected,” he said as he opened the meeting.
“In order to be fully effective, also in the…