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  • Writer's pictureAnton Kuchuhidze

International Press Review dated 12 - 23 February 2024

This week, the attention of the international media was focused primarily on the Munich Security Conference. Russia's aggression and the biggest war in Europe against our country was the main topic of the conference. For Ukraine, the outcome of this year's Munich Security Conference is rather positive, given two security treaties, new military aid packages and statements regarding supply of weapons.


For example, Le Monde reports that last week, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement with France a few hours after he officially signed a similar one with Germany. The agreements send a strong signal of long-term support by partners of Ukraine.


"The outcome of russia's war against Ukraine will be decisive for our interests, our values, our security and our model of society," Macron said.


The Wall Street Journal reports that the Senate passed a new aid package that provides nearly USD 60 billion for Ukraine, the largest single aid package since the russian invasion in early 2022.


Realization by the partners that putin's regime poses a threat to all of Europe is an important conclusion of the Munich conference. For example, The Washington Post published an article in which the President of Moldova spoke about putin's aggression: "If he is not stopped, the security of the whole continent will be endangered and other leaders will learn you can invade other countries and nothing happens. I would like the West to become bolder. The longer the war lasts, the more difficult the situation is for us."


Another editorial of The Washington Post claims that Ukraine is much stronger than anyone might think. Two years after russia invaded Ukraine, the war is at a critical stalemate. However, there is no reason for fatalistic thoughts about Ukraine. Ukraine might very well hold on to at least 82 percent of its territory and eventually gain a strong security link with the West. Ukraine is determined in this fight, but if putin wins this war, NATO's security may soon be at risk as well.


That is, there is a clear understanding in the West that Ukraine is not just fighting for its own sovereignty and independence. Ukrainian resistance keeps peace in Europe. Another article of The Wall Street Journal urges the world not to make this mistake. A victory of russia in Ukraine in addition to the end of Ukraine as a free, democratic and independent state, would mean fundamentally changing the face of Europe. This would deal a serious blow to the liberal world order. Russia's brutal attempt to steal territory by force can serve as an example for other authoritarian leaders around the world.

 

The Senate passed a $95.3 billion package backed by President Biden that contains a fresh round of aid for Ukraine and funds for Israel and Taiwan, overcoming Republican objections but facing an uncertain future in the GOP-run House.


The new aid package provides about $60 billion related to Ukraine, marking the largest single infusion of aid to the country since the Russian invasion in early 2022.


That includes some $20 billion to replenish U.S. stockpiles drawn down during earlier rounds of support to Ukraine, and $13.8 billion to help Ukraine buy weapons and munitions from the U.S. It also includes $7.85 billion to help sustain Ukraine’s government—a reduction from the $11.8 billion requested by the Biden administration.

 

Make no mistake: A Russian victory in Ukraine would not only be the end of Ukraine as a free, democratic and independent state, it would also dramatically change the face of Europe. It would deal a severe blow to the liberal world order. Russia’s brutal attempt to steal territory by force could serve as a blueprint for other authoritarian leaders around the globe. More countries would run the risk of falling prey to a nearby predator.


This possibility is why the U.S. and Europe support Ukraine’s fight for freedom. President Biden’s leadership has been critical to ensure that Vladimir Putin’s aggression is met with a united and successful response. So far, Mr. Putin hasn’t achieved any of his war goals. He thought that he could take the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, within two weeks. After two years, he still is far from accomplishing this, and Ukraine is bravely withstanding the Russian onslaught.

 

First, Ukraine’s military effort should focus more on defense. Kyiv needs to maintain the territory it still controls even as it prepares for counteroffensives.


Second, Ukraine needs to reduce its dependence on foreign assistance. Ukraine has a robust defense industry that is producing more weapons than before Russia’s 2022 invasion. Kyiv has signed more than 20 agreements with foreign partners for joint maintenance and production of weapons, giving it increased industrial capacity domestically and abroad.


NATO membership for Ukraine must reflect complete consensus within the alliance. Noticeable divisions at Bucharest in 2008 suggested to Mr. Putin that NATO wouldn’t come to Ukraine’s defense, inviting his 2014 invasion.


Supporting Ukraine isn’t an act of philanthropy. If Ukraine and the West falter, Russia may succeed in conquering Ukraine. Mr. Putin wants to restore the Russian empire—a revanchist ambition that may drive him to invade a NATO member. The result would be war with NATO and the U.S., something no one should want.


Two years since Russia invaded Ukraine and 10 since Vladimir Putin seized Crimea, the war is at a difficult standstill — not least because of wavering U.S. support. If Congress cuts off support, Ukraine could well collapse later this year. Yet Ukraine remains strong in many ways. It has continued to stymie the Kremlin’s greatest ambitions for taking over the country. While the going is tough today, there is no cause for fatalism.


So there is no reason for fatalistic thinking about Ukraine. It might very well hold on to at least 82 percent of its territory and eventually gain a strong security link with the West, especially if the United States again leads in addressing the Russian threat to Ukraine. At the moment, however, the U.S. Congress is playing with fire in threatening to end U.S. assistance to Kyiv. Ukraine is resolute in this struggle, but so, alas, is Russia, and if Putin winds up winning this war, NATO’s own security might soon be at risk, too.

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement with France hours after he officialized a similar one with Germany. The agreements send a strong signal of long-term backing as Kyiv works to shore up Western support nearly two years after Russia launched its full-scale war.


The agreement provides an additional package worth 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in military aid this year, the largest annual amount France has given to Ukraine since the war began.


“The outcome of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine will be decisive for our interests, our values, our security and our model of society,” Macron said.


”Yes, we must further invest” to support Ukraine “at a greater scale and in the long term,” he added. Macron said he would travel to Ukraine by mid-March.

 

The Canadian government said Monday it will dispatch more than 800 drones to Ukraine starting as early as this spring.


The Department of National Defence said in a statement that drones have become a critical capability for Ukraine in its war with Russia. It said the drones are important for surveillance and intelligence gathering, and can also be used to move supplies, including munitions.


They will cost more than $95 million Canadian ($70 million) and are part of a previously announced $500 million Canadian ($370 million) in military help for Ukraine.

 

“If he is not stopped, the security of the whole continent will be endangered and other leaders will learn you can invade other countries and nothing happens.”


She added: “Ukraine is not just fighting for its own sovereignty and independence. Ukrainian resistance keeps peace in Moldova.”


Sandu is also implicitly scathing about the failure of current Western leaders to provide more armaments more quickly to Ukraine. “The West was afraid of what Putin will do,” she said. “I don’t know why. … I would like the West to become more courageous. The longer the war lasts, the more difficult the situation becomes for us.”

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