The German Chancellor on Wednesday called on Europe to step up its efforts to fund Ukraine’s fight for sovereignty, AFP reported, with between-the-lines suggestions that the international community could no longer count on Kyiv’s largest benefactor to date, the United States, which continues to be tangled in a partisan debate about foreign aid in this US election year.
“Europe must do more to support Ukraine in the defense of its own country,” Olaf Scholz told the weekly publication Die Zeit in an interview. “The contributions that European nations have earmarked for 2024 so far are not big enough.”
As of the end of 2023, EU contributions for Ukraine aid over the course of the invasion (military, humanitarian and other assistance) have been calculated to be about €68 billion (about $74 billion). By contrast, Washington’s contributions by the same measures under the current presidential administration amount to approximately $75 billion, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
Scholz went on to say that said he was “rather irritated” that Germany was constantly being criticized for not doing enough, when it was already “doing more than all other EU nations -- much, much more.”
The AFP noted that Germany “accounts for more than half of Europe’s known weapon deliveries” to Kyiv.
It would be “hubris to think that we can do this alone in the long term,” Scholz said. “It would not be good news if Germany, should the US drop off as a supporter, were to become the biggest supporter of Ukraine in the end,” he said, adding that Germany was “only a medium-sized power.”
Scholz reportedly told President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call that he could count on Germany’s “continued and unwavering solidarity,” according to the Chancellor’s spokesman.
Zelensky also shared publically his concerns that, if former US president Donald Trump were elected in November’s US presidential elections, this would likely bring a “different policy” on the war.
Trump is far and away the Republican favorite candidate this year, facing only former South Carolina Governor (and Trump-appointed ambassador to the UN), Nikki Haley.
Trump, who has accused US President Joe Biden’s family of corrupt relations with Kyiv and whose loyal followers in the House of Representatives have stonewalled further funding to Ukraine, has won the first two US state primaries, in Iowa and New Hampshire, and is polling at about 40 percent ahead of Haley in her home state’s primaries, scheduled for Feb. 24.
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