Russia’s ongoing assault on Ukraine dominated the discussion during the second day of the annual Munich Security Conference (MSC) as Olaf Scholz and Volodymyr Zelensky took the center stage to deliver their key messages.

It was clear that the reluctant leader of Europe, Germany, has finally come to terms with its responsibility to lead the way in defense spending and Ukraine aid.

Zelensky’s key appeal was to the entire global community to do “whatever it takes'' to defend the rules-based international order and, instead of asking when the war in Ukraine will end, ponder why Putin is still able to wage it.

The leader of the embattled Ukrainian nation also highlighted his readiness to bring presidential candidate Trump “to the frontline” if he should agree to visit the beleaguered country that he and his party mates are reluctant to support.

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Zelensky made his appearance at the MSC after visiting key European capitals of Berlin and Paris to sign important bi-lateral security agreements with both countries. Visibly tired, but still energetic and able to joke, he received a standing ovation before delivering his key message on the need to turn 2024 into a year of restoring a rules-based international order.

Having ruined the myths of Russia’s military might, Ukrainians have been resisting Russia’s aggression for 724 days. This was also the title of a gripping photo exhibition featured at this year’s MSC.

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Clearly frustrated by the lack of sufficient military deliveries from Ukraine’s partners, Zelensky pointed that Ukraine’s ability to resist is “only limited by the range of our weapons.” He continued to emphasize the acute need for air defense systems and long-range missiles, while also praising Ukraine’s internal capabilities to produce and utilize drones effectively on the battlefield.

Zelensky spent a significant amount of time speaking about Putin, whom he described as a “thug” and a “criminal” that must be defeated.

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“We should not fear Putin’s defeat,” the Ukrainian president said. In fact, the impunity afforded Russian with respect to its previous record in Chechnya or Georgia have shaped the Russia of today. One of the key rhetorical questions raised by Zelensky in his address was “how long will the world let Russia be like this?!” 

On the economic front, he highlighted the need to close all sanctions loopholes in order to defeat Russia, and to ensure the continuation of the US support. These messages were echoed by the Ukrainian activists staging a major protest on the sidelines of the MSC at Munich’s Odeonsplatz, a historical venue where Hitler used to organize his rallies in the 1930s.

“Make Russia pay” was one of the key messages voiced by the organizers of this mass action, stressing the need to confiscate 300 billion dollars of frozen Russia’s Central Bank reserves in Ukraine’s favor.

 “Evil will never prevail if the forces of good are united and act together,” proclaimed the Ukrainian leader.

The shadow of the former US president Donald Trump was omnipresent. The fear of his re-election found its way into keynote speeches and numerous questions from the attendees of the event.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US Vice President Kamala Harris smile at the end of a press conference at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany on February 17, 2024.WOLFGANG RATTAY / POOL / AFP  

Zelensky also acknowledged that he had publicly invited presidential candidate Trump to visit Ukraine. “If Trump would come, I am ready to go with him to the frontline,” said the Ukrainian leader.

In the aftermath of Trump’s outrageous remarks on possibly encouraging Russia to attack NATO countries that do not pay their way in the alliance, the focus of Chancellor Scholtz’s speech was on the need for the European states to invest more.

“We have a pressing need to keep developing the European pillar of security for NATO, regardless of how the war in Ukraine will end,” said the German leader who sounded much more resolute compared to last year. 

“There will be no peace dictated by Moscow. We will not allow it!” stated Scholz, adding that Germany’s security commitment to Ukraine is “durable and long-term.”

This proclaimed commitment was corroborated by the words of Germany’s minister of defense Boris Pistorius, who referred to Germany’s commitment to Ukraine as being “until victory” - language German officials never dared to use before.

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And, in the end, it is not words but deeds that matter. The most recent bi-lateral deal signed by Zelensky and Scholtz in Berlin this week commits $1.2 billion of additional funding from Berlin for air defense and artillery that Ukraine desperately needs.

According to Kiel Institute’s Ukraine Tracker, the US is still slightly ahead of Europe in military assistance to Ukraine at €43.2 billion, but Europe is quickly catching up due to a continuous political gridlock in the US and Germany playing an increasingly more important role. 

Currently, Germany ranks second after US in overall aid to Ukraine, including military assistance. Until now, Ukraine received €22 billion collectively from Berlin, with €17.7 billion given for military purposes. This is roughly 0.5% of Germany's GDP.

Compare this to France, which boasts one of the largest military and industrial complexes in Europe. Until now, France’s overall bi-lateral aid to Ukraine amounted to €1.8 billion only, with military support standing at €635 million (0.02% of GDP).

When asked about the prospect of delivering Taurus long-range missiles to Ukraine, Scholz was deliberately vague, suggesting no readiness to do so. But given Germany’s metamorphosis vis-a-vis Russia over the past two years of war, it would not be surprising to hear Scholz announce the deliveries of Taurus missiles at the next year’s MSC or earlier.

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The key question is – will it be too late?

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Comments (3)

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John
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Jack Griffin's Geat Uncle, Of course you read everything we Ukraine supporters type Jack. Thats why you also ways comment negatively back on its content...that and the fact you would violate your MRGA troll contract if you did not.

putintrump is nothing like Reagan. He shares none of former Republican leadership values and principles Reagan did.. He's a narcissist of the criminal variety: out only for himself.

Or as putintrumps' own former Secretary of defense Mark Esper said :

“I think he’s unfit for office. … He puts himself before country. His actions are all about him and not about the country. And then, of course, I believe he has integrity and character issues as well"

Well when 24 of putinrumps own top White House staff say extremely negative things about putinrump........I guess that makes him a MGRA kind of person.

Of course you being smarter then putinrump you would never have hired such honest and insightful people knowing it would come back on you.

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Jack Griffin's Geat Uncle
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Well John, as President Ronald Reagan would quip: "There you go again." You only continue to prove you need professional therapy. There you are again, spewing your fingertips out for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I do not read what you have to offer.

John
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Jack Griffin's Geat Uncle, Of course you read everything we Ukraine supporters type Jack. Thats why you also ways comment negatively back on its content...that and the fact you would violate your MRGA troll contract if you did not.

putintrump is nothing like Reagan. He shares none of former Republican leadership values and principles Reagan did.. He's a narcissist of the criminal variety: out only for himself.

Or as putintrumps' own former Secretary of defense Mark Esper said :

“I think he’s unfit for office. … He puts himself before country. His actions are all about him and not about the country. And then, of course, I believe he has integrity and character issues as well"

Well when 24 of putinrumps own top White House staff say extremely negative things about putinrump........I guess that makes him a MGRA kind of person.

Of course you being smarter then putinrump you would never have hired such honest and insightful people knowing it would come back on you.

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https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
John
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

JOHN Guest • 1 second ago
@Son of Jack Griffin and russian troll father @Jack Griffen:

Enough US voters exist outside the MRGA cult, that now decisively know that Putinrump only specializes in fraud, sexual assault and in general making American's hate each other. He will not get elected again. For following this despot so blindly the GOP may even find it also loses its majority in the House. Still better for the whole USA than being led by a wannabe dictator and putin sycophant. Nikki Haley may be Republican's only remaining chance to avoid a huge ass whooping in the next election.

Putinrump presently leverages his hate spewing MRGA cult in the US House & sometimes Senate towards legislative inertia. Sadly the MRGA continues to stall Ukraine aid during this pivotal putin caused EU crisis. However I think they will shortly fail in this objective.

According to at least 24 of putinrumps' former senior appointees in the White House, his presidential skills or ethical aspirations do not go far beyond spreading false narratives or hate (quotes available). I've also posted about his +4000 legal cases even before entering the White House , +2 impeachments and 81 felony charges since, and the 4 bankruptcies he stewarded where he screwed western creditors forcing him to take funding from manipulative foreign nations such as russia.

Yet this remains the man putin and the MRGA cult best feels represents their values. 



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