NATO seeks to convince of its support for Ukraine in a gloomy context
BRUSSELS, November 28, 2023 (AFP) – NATO sought on Tuesday to convince of the continuation of its commitment in Ukraine in a difficult context, dominated by the status quo on the battlefield and the procrastination of the United States.
“I am confident” about continued American military support for Ukraine, said Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of a ministerial meeting in Brussels.
Aid from Washington has, however, been blocked in Congress for weeks, due to the reluctance of Republican elected officials to contribute more to the war effort in Ukraine. The United States has already paid 40 billion dollars in military aid to Kiev, and these elected officials believe that the rest can wait at a time when Israel, battling Hamas, also needs help.
And in Europe, several countries are reluctant to pay more. The payment of aid of 20 billion euros suggested by the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell is blocked, and the overall envelope of 50 billion euros also envisaged to help Kiev has for the moment remained a dead letter.
When they arrived in Brussels on Tuesday, several heads of diplomacy promised not to give up. “We will strongly reaffirm our support” for Ukraine, assured American Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
– ” In the time ” –
“We will mark, we will reaffirm our support for Ukraine, support which must be exercised over the long term, obviously,” promised French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.
“We must continue to support Ukraine (…) which is fighting for its survival in the face of the Russian aggressor,” insisted his Latvian colleague Krisjanis Karins, candidate to succeed Mr. Stoltenberg next year. It is in “our direct interest to ensure that Russia does not win this war,” he added.
However, some people are worried about the weariness that is gripping certain European countries after some 650 days of war in Ukraine.
“I don’t feel any sign” of weariness among EU countries, 22 of which are also NATO members, assured Josep Borrell during a press conference on Tuesday alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. .
The latter also insisted on the successes of the Ukrainian navy in the Black Sea, which managed to free part of it from the Russian presence, thus allowing around “a hundred” ships to export tons of Ukrainian grain.
Some seem to be “watching another war, without perceiving Ukraine’s real capacity to resist,” added Mr. Borrell, responding to concerns about a front line frozen for weeks.
This is also the message that the NATO Secretary General is trying to convey, for whom Kiev continues to “inflict heavy losses” on the Russian army, despite a “difficult” situation on the spot. of battle.
– ” Save lives –
“We need to continue to support them knowing that the stronger Ukraine is on the battlefield, the stronger it will be at the negotiating table,” he stressed, while insisting that the decision to opening these negotiations belonged to Ukraine and it alone.
“We have no other alternative. Letting President (Vladimir) Putin win would be a tragedy for Ukrainians and dangerous for all of us,” Jens Stoltenberg said.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock summed up the situation in her own way: “It’s not a question of whether Ukraine can make military progress, it’s a question of saving lives.”
And saving lives means accelerating Allied aid to Ukraine to help it end this war as quickly as possible, she explained.
What is at stake is “Ukraine, which seeks to allow all its people, and particularly in the east of the country, to live in peace and freedom, and above all to free themselves from this brutal aggression,” from Russia, said Ms. Baerbock.
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