‘It is urgent’: European leaders appeal for greater support for Ukraine as Russia makes major gains

Mette Frederiksen, Denmark’s prime minister, speaks on day two of the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024.

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MUNICH, Germany — The West is suffering a “colossal failure of imagination” in thinking Russia’s war in Ukraine will not hit them next, European policymakers have been told amid calls for a doubling down of transatlantic support for Kyiv.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen criticized a waning sense of urgency among delegates at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday as Moscow’s full-scale offensive nearly enters its third year.

“The sense of urgency is simply not clear enough in our discussions,” Frederiksen told a lunchtime session. “We have to speed up and we have to scale up.”

Frederiksen called out Europe’s claims of production constraints as a reason for failing to provide more military assistance to Ukraine, noting that the continent has existing stockpiles it could and should share.

“This is not only a question about production because we have weapons, we have ammunition, we have air defense that we don’t have to use ourselves at the moment, that we should deliver to Ukraine,” she said.

Denmark has now donated its entire artillery to Ukraine, Frederiksen said, urging other countries to do the same as the war marks its second anniversary on Feb. 24.

“On Saturday, there should be new deliveries,” she said. “Words will not solve this situation.”

He [Putin] will draft Ukrainians into his army to attack us.

Radoslaw Sikorski

foreign minister of Poland

Frederiksen’s sentiment was echoed by others in the room. The policymakers were speaking at the 7th Munich Ukrainian Lunch, hosted on the sidelines of the MSC by the Yalta European Strategy (YES) forum and Ukrainian non-profit the Victor Pinchuk Foundation. Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said countries must give Ukraine “what we already have.”

The comments came hours after Ukrainian troops withdrew from the eastern city of Avdiivka, a longtime military stronghold, to avoid Russian encirclement. The fall of Avdiivka marks the biggest change on the frontlines since Moscow captured Bakhmut in May, and provides Russia with a new base from which to launch regional attacks that can be presented back home as a morale-boosting success.

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Russian forces now reportedly in control just below one-fifth of Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory. As they advance further into the country, seizing more territory and installing Russian leadership via sham elections, Ukrainian forces could conceivably be forced to eventually fight for Moscow, Poland’s foreign minister said.

“Hey [Putin] will draft Ukrainians into his army to attack us,” Radosław Sikorski said.

The dogs of war

Colossal failure of imagination

Read the original at Defence247.gr

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