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As US Aid to Ukraine Stalls, Europe Takes the Lead

The EU and the UK are supporting Ukraine at a crucial juncture in its war against Russia, argues Mark Temnycky.

Special training of the 128th separate mountain assault brigade of the Zakarpattia Army of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Zaporizhzhia sector, south-eastern Ukraine. 11 January 2024. Photo: Raj Valley/Alamy

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak travelled to Kyiv this month to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During the session, Sunak reiterated Britain’s unwavering support for Ukraine, and said that the United Kingdom would form a new United Kingdom-Ukraine Security Cooperation Agreement. The UK also said it will continue to do whatever it takes to help Ukraine during its time of need.

Britain’s new defence package to Ukraine, listed at £2.5 billion, will include drones, long-range missiles, air defence systems, and ammunition. The UK will also train Ukrainian soldiers on cyber security, medical practices, and defence matters.

The UK’s announcement came at a welcome time. For weeks, some Republican officials in the United States House and Senate have delayed a new aid package to Ukraine. They argue that the United States must first address its internal matters before providing foreign assistance to other countries. As the quarrels persist, Ukrainians continue to die due to Russia’s ongoing invasion. Some have also reported that while the United States prolongs the delay to its aid, Ukraine is running low on ammunition.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United States has provided more than $75 billion to Ukraine. This has spanned from defence equipment and medical materials to humanitarian aid and financial assistance.

But some critics have said that America has sent too much aid to Ukraine. They also argue that other countries should be doing more.

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These takes are incorrect. To date, the European Union has collectively provided over €85 billion in aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began in February 2022. This assistance has helped Ukraine defend itself from Russian forces. The EU has also provided assistance to Ukrainian refugees who fled due to the war. Finally, the Europeans are helping Ukraine enhance its energy, transportation, and industry sectors.

Outside of the aid that has already been provided, the EU is also working on a new €50 billion package for Ukraine. The proposed assistance bill seeks to boost Ukraine’s economy. Hungary currently opposes the new aid deal, but European officials are working with the Hungarians to reach an agreement. The Europeans have also stated that if a settlement is not reached with the Hungarians, then the rest of the EU bloc will find another way to send the new aid package to Ukraine. Either way, the Europeans are committed to helping Ukraine. The EU is scheduled to discuss this new aid package in further detail during next month’s summit in Brussels.

Like the EU, the UK is also giving assistance to Ukraine without delay. To date, the British have provided over £9 billion in assistance to Ukraine. Nearly half of this aid has been spent on defence equipment. Of note are long-range precision strike missiles. The UK was one of the first countries to give the Ukrainians this capability to strike Russian ammunition depos and military targets. Destroying these areas has halted Russia’s ability to manufacture weapons and other equipment used for its invasion. It has also stalled Russian developments in southern and eastern Ukraine.

The UK has also prioritized training programs. Over the past two years, British soldiers have trained their Ukrainian counterparts to help Ukraine modernize its military. The British are also training Ukrainian fast jet pilots. This training will help the Ukrainians defend their skies.

Overall, at a time when domestic politics in the United States is interfering with its assistance to Ukraine, the British and Europeans have stepped up their involvement by increasing their aid efforts to Ukraine. This assistance suggests that the British and Europeans will not back down in their partnership with the Ukrainians. It also highlights that they will do whatever it takes to help the Ukrainians during their time of need. British and European politicians and their constituents strongly support Ukraine, and they want this Eastern European country to succeed.

No one is certain how the Russian invasion will continue to unfold. But history has shown that the British and Europeans will stand firm with Ukraine. This continued cooperation will ultimately make a difference, and it will help Ukraine win the war.


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