Throughout July, Europe’s six largest countries offered Ukraine no new bilateral military commitments, according to new data – the first month since Russia invaded in February.
The revelation is a sign that despite historic shifts in European defense policy – which have seen once reluctant countries like France and Germany ship arms to Ukraine – military aid to Ukraine may dwindle in the future. just as Kyiv launches a crucial counter-offensive.
The new data, due out Thursday, comes from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which has maintained a track of support for Ukraine throughout the war. This illustrates a point Ukrainian military officials and politicians have repeatedly made: that major European powers do not follow military aid from the UK, Poland and the US. Military specialists and some members of the European Parliament have increasingly echoed this point recently.
Christoph Trebesch, head of the team responsible for compiling the Ukraine Support Tracker, said the organization’s data showed European military aid commitments to Ukraine had been declining since late April.
“Although the war is entering a critical phase, new aid initiatives have dried up,” he said.
Western allies met last week in Copenhagen to collect pledges to bolster Ukraine’s military, raising 1.5 billion euros in pledges. But Trebesch, who said his team is still analyzing the numbers, warned the figure “is meager compared to what has come up in previous conferences.”
Trebesch argued that European countries should view the war in Ukraine as closer to the eurozone crisis or the coronavirus pandemic, two events that have encouraged the continent to funnel hundreds of billions into emergency financing measures. ’emergency.
“When you compare the speed at which the checkbook came out and the size of the money that was delivered, compared to what’s being offered to Ukraine, it’s miniscule in comparison,” he said. .
Trebesch referred to the EU’s pandemic recovery fund, which spans around 800 billion euros in loans and grants. So far, overall EU aid to Ukraine is only a small fraction of it.
“I would say that’s surprisingly little considering what’s at stake,” he said.
Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks recently told POLITICO that countries like France and Germany must do more for Ukraine’s fight against Russia.
“If we want the war to end as soon as possible, they have to ask themselves: are they doing enough? ” he said.
Pabriks called on European nations to give proportionally at a similar level to several Central European countries, pointing specifically to Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Former Estonian defense chief Riho Terras, now a member of the European Parliament, said Europe needed to “wake up”, arguing there would be no peace until victory over Russia.
“Hundreds of people are dying every day, not just soldiers but women and children,” he said. “People don’t really understand, we are at war.”
Germany, in particular, has faced pointed allegations that it is moving too slowly to implement much-vaunted tank swaps with European neighbors, allowing those countries to then send in their Soviet-era tanks. in Ukraine. Berlin has defended its approach and repeatedly stressed the regular arms deliveries it allows for Ukraine.
Daniel Fiott, a European defense analyst at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, said pledges mean nothing if they don’t get on the ground.
“Ukraine needs material, not hot air,” he said.
Fiott said the weeks and months ahead will test Europe’s political and economic credibility.
“We must hope that European arms manufacturers can meet the growing demand, but we must also hope that governments do not impede deliveries when military equipment becomes available,” he said.