The EU needs a more comprehensive plan to aid Ukraine

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Publication Date 26/02/2024
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As Russia’s illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine stretches into its third year, the clouds on Brussels’ bleak winter horizon are more foreboding than usual. The culmination of Kyiv’s summer 2023 counteroffensive, with very little change in the lines of control, illustrates the reality that the fight for a free and independent Ukraine will be a protracted conflict. In Washington, additional aid to Ukraine remains mired in the United States' (US) Congress. One bright spot, however, was the European Union’s (EU) decision on February 1 to approve an additional fifty-four billion dollars in support to Ukraine through 2027. This is a good start, but the EU can and must do more.

The EU needs a comprehensive plan for its beleaguered neighbor. In addition to the current aid package, and along with discussions about Ukraine’s EU accession, which will take a decade or more, the EU needs to implement a three-pronged strategy. The EU must ramp up its economic recovery program to get private and public sector investment to rebuild Ukraine. It should develop a longer basic military training course and a staff officer course to help the Ukrainian military effect large-scale maneuvers, which Ukrainian forces cannot yet do. And it should build out pan-European defense procurement for Ukraine.

The United States must continue to play a critical role in supporting Ukraine. It can do this, for example, by passing the sixty-one billion dollar spending package for Ukraine and then working with European allies to implement a better strategy to continue support. But for the Biden administration, the task over the next year should also be to Europeanize the war in Ukraine, with the EU and the United Kingdom becoming Kyiv’s leading sources of military aid (in addition to overall aid), with the United States in a supporting role.

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