EU must double Ukraine aid, as US turns off the taps: Institute

EU must double Ukraine aid, as US turns off the taps: Institute

EU must double Ukraine aid, as US turns off the taps: Institute

The European Union will have to increase its military assistance to Ukraine to fill a vacuum created by the United States after Congress blocked additional help for months, according to a research group that monitors aid.

With existing funds exhausted, Republicans in the United States House of Representatives are rejecting $60 billion in fresh military aid, despite the fact that Ukrainian commanders and Western officials have just said that Ukrainian forces are running low on ammunition.

“It is highly uncertain whether the US will send further military aid in 2024,” the Germany-based Kiel Institute said in report on the state of play of military, financial and humanitarian aid to the war-battered country since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022.

Data as of January 15, 2024, indicates that between February 2022 and December 2023, the US contributed 42.2 billion euros ($45.4 billion) in military aid to Ukraine, or around two billion euros per month.

Since the beginning of the conflict, the European Union and its 27 members have promised 49.7 billion euros in military aid; however, only 35.2 billion euros have been provided or allocated.

“Europe will have to at least double its current military support efforts in case there is no further support from the United States,” said Christoph Trebesch, head of the Ukraine Support Tracker and Research Director at the Kiel Institute.

“This is a challenge, but just a question of political will. The EU countries are among the richest in the world and so far they have spent not even one percent of their 2021 GDP to support Ukraine.”

A total of 265.1 billion euros have been pledged to Ukraine since February 2022, of which 141.3 billion in financial aid, 107.5 billion in military aid and 16.3 billion in humanitarian aid.

The EU and its member states are the biggest donors with 144.1 billion euros, the United States with 67.7 billion and the United Kingdom 15.7 billion.

But there is a big gap between pledges and money shelled out, especially in the case of the EU, which has so far only allocated 77.2 billion. This is because the bloc’s pledges are spread over several years.

The halt in US military aid to Ukraine comes as the 2024 presidential election gears up as Donald Trump appears set to cruise to the Republican party nomination.

Trump opposes helping Ukraine’s fight against Russia and recently used his sway to kill a US border reform bill that would have also authorised additional aid to Ukraine.

A return Trump to power in 2025 would sound the death knell for US aid to Ukraine, experts say.

Europe has also been plagued by divisions over Ukraine.

Hungarian leader Viktor Orban blocked for months authorising an additional 50 billion euros of aid for Ukraine over four years, relenting only earlier this month.

In Slovakia new populist Prime Minister Robert Fico in November fulfilled promises made during his election campaign and blocked a major arms delivery planned by his predecessor.

The West’s weapons contributions have evolved along with the situation on the battlefield, morphing from tens of thousands of light weapons after the invasion to helicopters and howitzers, and then to sophisticated western tanks including American Abrams, British Challengers and German Leopards.

After getting the green light from Washington, the Netherlands and Denmark agreed in August 2023 to deliver 61 American F-16 fighter jets. Norway followed suit and training of the pilots has started.