Speaking to Ukrainian media, Kurt Walker says he thinks the armed conflict will continue well into next year
Ukraine, Europe and Russia should brace themselves for a tough winter ahead, former US special representative for Ukraine Kurt Walker has warned, saying that the fighting will likely continue and an energy crisis is looming. He noted, however, that Washington would keep on standing by Kiev through thick and thin.
In an interview with Ukrainian media released on Sunday, Walker said upfront that he expected the coming winter to be difficult for both Ukraine and the EU, while Russia will be adversely affected as well.
The former US diplomat explained that the EU will be facing serious energy shortages and rising prices. He added that Berlin, for instance, is already busy calculating the costs of ensuring it can see itself through the coming months.
According to Walker, other EU member states are also taking measures now to cushion the impact of the projected energy shortfalls in the coming months.
For Ukraine, there is little ground for optimism either, with extremely hard times still ahead, as the former special representative put it. Walker attributed this to the fact that the military conflict is set to drag on.
He said he anticipated the fighting continuing well into next spring or even summer. However, he commended Ukraine for the "progress" the country has made so far.
Walker also emphasized that the authorities in Washington appear to have faith in Kiev and its commitment to democracy, and, therefore, are willing to continue to support the country in its fight against Russia.
He noted that considerable sums of money have been earmarked to this end in America's budget for this fiscal year and the next.
Various Ukrainian officials have repeatedly offered their predictions as to when the conflict will end, which range from in several months up to several years.
The Kremlin, meanwhile, has made it clear on several occasions that Moscow did not set any deadlines in its military operation, adding that the offensive will continue until Russia reaches its goals in Ukraine.