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The Telegraph
The Telegraph
16 Dec 2023

The West can’t give up on Ukraine now

The suspension of a €50 billion European Union fund for Kyiv’s war effort marks just the latest crisis in Western support for a beleaguered Ukraine. 

While the problem of Hungarian scepticism, led by Viktor Orbán who blocked the package, may be circumvented by an EU trust formed of the remaining 26 member states, it is nevertheless difficult to be optimistic. As Charles Moore writes in this paper today, Ukraine scepticism is finding traction in other parts of Europe, including Poland.

American support appears to be diminishing. President Biden’s recent comments that his nation will support Ukraine “for as long as it can” was subtly, but no less troublingly, different from previous statements that it would support Ukraine “for as long as it takes”. 

Republicans moreover, who blocked a US aid package to Ukraine this month, are favoured to take the White House at next year’s presidential elections. Indeed, 2024 is set to be a record year for elections across the world, with 50 countries due to hold them. These votes may encourage leaders to look further inwards, questioning the value of funding the fight against Vladimir Putin or of supporting Ukraine at all.

Already, Ukrainian forces are having to ration the use of artillery and specialist equipment for fear of running out of supplies. Their offensive capabilities have been severely hampered, contributing to relative stalemate on the battlefield compared with their successes last year.

It need not be this way. Those leaders in America and Europe who still support Ukraine’s cause should push to send more resources now, before domestic circumstances change to Putin’s advantage. The alternative would be a victory not just for Russia, but for all those who have set themselves against the rules-based international order on which the West’s security and prosperity rely.