Will US and Poland Suspend Military Aid to Ukraine?

Thursday, 5 October 2023

Hints and threats from Poland about the cessation of military-logistical support to Ukraine, the victory of a party in Slovakia that ran in the elections with openly anti-Ukrainian slogans, public discussions in Washington about reducing or even suspoending aid to Ukraine.

Has Ukrainian scepticism become a trend?

All of this was discussed at the Warsaw Security Forum. More details on the new challenges for Ukraine you can read in the article by Sergiy Sydorenko, European Pravda editor (from Warsaw): Crisis That Must Be Averted: How Europe Is Preparing for a Possible Cut in US Military Aid.

The main impression from the discussions in Warsaw is that they were in stark contrast to what Ukrainian experts and officials were accustomed to hearing in conversations with their Polish partners just a few weeks ago

On every panel, in every discussion with Polish involvement, whether open or closed, it was stated that Poland is a crucial security partner for Ukraine.

The grain conflict has not disappeared, but it mostly remains within the boundaries of trade issues.

Another issue that is undoubtedly key is current developments in the United States.

Even a partial reduction would be extremely painful, so maintaining American support during the war is essential for Ukraine.

Is there a significant risk that US assistance will indeed collapse?

Despite the complex political situation in the United States, the disaster scenario is far from guaranteed, even if Donald Trump is elected president in 2024.

"We are not a monarchy. Congress would also have a say in that decision," General Herbert McMaster, former National Security Advisor to President Trump, reminded forum participants.

Even if the US reduces its assistance, it will not drop to zero.

In Warsaw, there seemed to be a turning point in Western expert (and political) thinking about what the NATO Vilnius Summit meant for Ukraine.

Even now, not everyone is ready to admit that in Vilnius, Ukraine was denied the rapid NATO integration it had anticipated, but a shift in balance was palpable.

One key dialogue was between conservative diplomat and head of the Munich Security Conference Christoph Heusgen and Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis. The German diplomat asked the Lithuanian minister, as the host of the Vilnius summit, to talk about the positive consequences, but he flatly refused to do so.

"Are we happy with the outcome of the summit? My answer is that we are happy with how the logistics worked out at the summit. In that sense, it was all great. But regarding the adoption of geopolitical decisions... that didn’t happen," Landsbergis replied, not hiding his disapproval of the fact that some NATO members did not have the courage to invite Ukraine to join.

Landsbergis also criticised certain countries (i.e. the US and Germany) for being afraid to talk about Ukraine's victory.

Both of these statements by Landsbergis were well received in the hall, confirming that these ideas are now becoming mainstream.

The main question remains unanswered: how to change the US position by the next NATO summit in Washington in July 2024. But on that point we heard nothing in Warsaw.

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