What should EU assistance look like to ensure Ukraine's victory?

Friday, 23 February 2024

The ongoing Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has not only become a critical test for the resilience of Ukrainian society but also a litmus test for the collective security architecture in Europe.

However, the current level of Western military support to Ukraine just allows Ukraine not to lose but falls far short of what is necessary for a decisive victory.

That is why there is an urgent need to radically reform the whole system of Western military support to Ukraine, believes Andrius Kubilius, MEP and Prime Minister of Lithuania in 1999-2000 and 2008-2012. Read more in his column - Overhauling Western military support for Ukraine: imperative of EU plan for Ukraine's victory.

"The cornerstone of my proposal to EPP Group's position paper is the establishment of a collective EU framework, aptly named The EU Plan for the Victory of Ukraine, aimed at consolidating efforts and resources towards Ukraine's victory," the author writes.

While the combined GDP of Western nations by 25 times dwarfs that of Russia, the disparity in military support provided to Ukraine is glaring, Kubilius points out.

According to the MEP, one of the critical shortcomings mentioned in the suggested EU Plan is the fragmented nature of the current military assistance, characterized by voluntary contributions from individual EU or NATO Member States.

This piecemeal approach not only lacks the collective political will necessary for sustained support to victory of Ukraine but also results in significant discrepancies in aid provision among different countries.

"Key to its success is the establishment of EU-level obligations for long-term military support of Ukraine, surpassing the paltry 0.1% threshold set in previous years," Kubilius notes.

By committing to an annual support threshold of 0.25% of the Western combined GDP, Western democracies can significantly, almost by 3 times enhance Ukraine's capacity to withstand Russian aggression and eventually secure victory.

However, the success of the EU Plan hinges on overcoming potential obstacles, including political inertia and strategic ambiguity.

It is essential to secure broad consensus among EU Member States and devise contingency plans, such as the hypothetical scenario where the United States Congress fails to approve necessary legislative packages or significantly diminish the level of the assistance to Ukraine.

Additionally, efforts to bolster Ukraine's indigenous military industry should be prioritized to reduce dependency on external aid and ensure long-term sustainability.

"The Western delays and strategic ambiguity stimulate global autocracies to exert aggressive foreign policies, including the use of military means. The continuation of assistance is critically important not only for Ukraine, but also is in the most important strategic and national interests of the EU and NATO members states," he concludes.

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