Ukraine’s military support is evolving into a US affair, backed by the United Kingdom. The EU has deliberately lagged far behind, which also highlights the different approach of the Western allies (for more information about the different approach on this subject please read the analysis entitled “The first “Cracks” in the West and in NATO since the War in Ukraine“
The Americans have approved a $24 billion budget to bolster Ukraine’s military effort. The United Kingdom is moving at 2-3 billion pounds and the EU is around 1.5 billion euros, with different and in several cases lower quality weapon systems.
And while the EU of “27” spends around 1.5 billion euros on military aid to Ukraine, with the energy dependence it has developed on Russia still pays to Moscow – depending on the day – from half to 1 billion euros, thus financing Putin’s war machine.
The US and the UK are not energy dependent on Russia, so they have a double advantage over the EU in their effort in favor of Ukraine. They offer substantial military assistance and do not fund Putin’s war machine.
A climate of suspicion from Ukraine especially to the detriment of Germany and France
The difference, of course, is being recorded by the Ukrainians, which is why, over time, a climate of suspicion is being created, especially to the detriment of Germany and France.
Germany does not want to polarize the situation with Russia for historical reasons, but also for perception of the national interest. The Germans still bear the brunt of Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union. They are fully satisfied with the opening to the East and the strategy of change through trade, which led to the reunification of the two German states without war and bloodshed.
In a recent interview, former Chancellor Angela Merkel passionately defended her policy toward Putin. As she characteristically said: “Diplomacy is not wrong just because it does not succeed. That’s why I see no reason to say I was wrong or to apologize for what I did. “Looking back I am happy that I can not blame myself for doing too little to prevent such an event.”
She added: “The interests of the country I ruled meant that I had to find a modus vivendi with Russia in which we would not be at war, but we could somehow coexist, despite our many differences.” It does not matter so much whether Merkel is right or not, but the fact that her approach was and remains dominant in Germany, the EU’s most economically powerful country.
Despite the differences between the ruling coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals from the policies of the Merkel government, Germany’s strategy remains broadly the same, despite the dramatic change in circumstances. Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine took place in 2014, but the scale and objectives of the invasion that began on February 24, 2022 are much larger and of geostrategic importance.
The Ukrainians also have doubts about the strategy followed by France. Macron insists on a personal dialogue with Putin, which has so far yielded no results, while insisting on the importance of a future negotiation. The French president reiterated from Romania, which he visited as part of a tour that includes Moldova and possibly Ukraine itself, that “the Ukrainian president and officials should negotiate with Russia.”
It is clear, then, that the Americans and the British are emphasizing the war effort. They would rather have a permanently open “wound” on the EU side, making the EU distant from Russia (Germany) and at the same time an economic market rather than a federal and military union. On the other hand, the Germans and the French are preparing the ground for future negotiations. In turn (Germany) take it for granted that the EU’s natural ally – in economic, trade and energy terms – is Russia and that without Russia there can be no security policy in the EU (France).
The problem is that the worse the outcome of the confrontation for Ukraine, the greater Russia’s negotiating advantage. The image of European partners deliberately lagging behind in support of Ukraine’s military effort and preparing the ground for future negotiations through communication and politics is a legitimate concern in Kyiv. Strong reactions are also observed within the EU with the Polish government expressing the member states that want a more effective response to the Russian threat.