Pavel claims that if the Western allies do not increase their support for Ukraine, it will be an advantage for Putin

Petr Pavel / Photo EPA-EFE/JULIEN WARNAND

Russian President Vladimir Putin could gain the upper hand in the war against Ukraine over the next year if Kiev's Western allies do not step up their military support, Czech President Petr Pavel said.

"We have no choice but to give Ukraine everything it needs to succeed in its mission to restore sovereignty and control its borders." Anything less will be our failure," he said in an interview with the Italian Corriere della Sera.

Officials in Kiev have long complained about the slow delivery of weapons and other forms of aid promised by Western countries. Russia has also begun relying on its military allies, including North Korea and Iran, to stockpile artillery and weapons ahead of the brutal winter months.

"If we miss the opportunity to maintain our support for Ukraine, next year could be even more favorable for Moscow," Pavel said. "This year is crucial for laying the foundations for success." Next year will be more complicated.

"Unfortunately, our deliveries of military equipment are not enough to allow Ukraine to continue the high-intensity operation," added the Czech leader, pointing out that European allies have not fulfilled their "promises" to supply Ukraine with artillery shells.

Pavel added that Putin probably profited in recent weeks from the conflict in the Gaza Strip. He also says he does not believe Ukraine can currently gain "military superiority" over Russia, adding that "time is now on Russia's side."

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