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EU fails to provide concrete commitments for Ukraine’s air defense plea

EU fails to provide concrete commitments for Ukraine's air defense plea
By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
Apr 22, 2024 10:44 PM

The EU is grappling with Ukraine’s urgent appeal for enhanced air defense capabilities amid escalating tensions with Russia

The European Union faced mounting pressure Monday as it grappled with Ukraine’s urgent appeal for enhanced air defense capabilities amid escalating tensions with Russia.

Despite fervent pleas from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba for concrete commitments, the EU’s foreign and defense ministers failed to deliver tangible support during a crucial meeting.

Kuleba, addressing his EU counterparts via virtual meeting, emphasized the pressing need for action rather than prolonged debate. “We can prevent the worst-case scenarios if we act together and without fear,” he urged.

Ukraine’s request for seven additional U.S.-made Patriot air defense systems, crucial for countering Russia’s hypersonic missiles, was met with limited response, with only Germany pledging to send an extra Patriot system.

While NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed optimism about forthcoming announcements from member states regarding additional air defense assistance for Ukraine, the EU meeting concluded without clear new commitments.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell acknowledged a “common and clear understanding” among member states regarding the urgency of the situation but emphasized that decisions rested with individual countries.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski lamented the sluggish pace of proceedings, citing the inability to spare Patriot systems because of Poland’s proximity to both Russia and Ukraine.

“The ones in Western Europe, we feel could be more usefully deployed in Ukraine,” he remarked. Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren affirmed ongoing explorations of potential avenues for support.

Ukraine’s renewed plea for assistance followed a significant development in the United States, where lawmakers approved a $61 billion aid package for Kyiv after months of political deadlock.

With US support seemingly imminent, European ministers and Ukrainian officials underscored the importance of maintaining momentum in bolstering Ukraine’s defenses.

“We in Europe cannot and should not relax,” cautioned Kuleba, emphasizing the need for sustained solidarity. Echoing this sentiment, Latvia’s Foreign Minister Baiba Braze stressed the critical nature of Europe’s role in the current geopolitical landscape.

“We dodged a historic bullet but, unfortunately, many more bullets are on the way,” warned Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, highlighting the ongoing need for preparedness amidst escalating tensions.

Source: AFP

Last Updated:  Jun 3, 2024 4:43 PM