Friday, May 24, 2024

Ukrainian FM accuses US of insufficient support amid Russia attacks

Western nations are lagging behind Russia in their endeavours to step up defense production, leading to doubts about the ability of the US and its allies to maintain the current world order, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has argued.

Speaking to Foreign Policy magazine, Kiev’s top diplomat urged the US in particular to “look for problems on your side and not on the side of Ukraine” when devising strategies for the conflict with Moscow.

“Russia has become more efficient in producing weapons than the whole Western alliance. It’s a bad sign. Things must change if we are serious about defending the world as we know it,” Kuleba said in an interview published on Wednesday.

“Ask yourselves: What are we doing wrong if we cannot help our ally prevail?” the diplomat urged the Americans.

“If you cannot produce enough interceptors to help Ukraine win the war against the country that wants to destroy the world order, then how are you going to win in the war against perhaps an enemy who is stronger than Russia?” he added.

Kuleba called on politicians in Washington to adopt a maximalist approach to military assistance, and to treat Russia as an “enemy” that cannot be negotiated with while Vladimir Putin remains president.

Kiev is grateful for the approval of an additional $60 billion in US security aid last month, Kuleba continued, but claimed that the morale boost “would have been even stronger” if Washington included Patriot anti-aircraft systems in its arms packages.

Putin has linked the Ukraine conflict with what he perceives to be Washington’s geopolitical vulnerability. Attending the Valdai Discussion Club last October, the Russian leader claimed the US had “provoked” the fighting, partly to force its European allies “to get behind [their] sovereign and switch to the policy of sanctions and restrictions against Russia”.

During the same event, Putin stated that Western wealth “was to the large extent achieved thanks to the plunder of its colonies over the centuries”. He further claimed that “Western global influence is a giant military-financial pyramid scheme, which requires as fuel natural, technological, and human resources owned by others.”

During a meeting with military officers in Kiev on Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Ukraine needs to defeat Russia on the battlefield in order to be admitted to NATO. The US-led alliance has made it clear that Kiev cannot become a member while the fighting is ongoing.

“I believe that we will be in NATO only if we win. I don’t think that we will be admitted to NATO during the war,” Zelensky stated.

He explained that accession would require unanimous approval from the alliance’s 32 members. Some of them are reluctant to admit Ukraine in the midst of an armed conflict because “they feel the risks, while others are simply skeptical”, Zelensky argued.

“Therefore, for Ukraine to be accepted into the alliance, we need victory.”

He added that eventual membership would secure Ukraine’s independence.

Ukraine formally applied to join the Trans-Atlantic defense bloc in September 2022. While NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and individual members agree that Ukraine should someday become part of NATO, Kiev has not been presented with a specific timetable. It is widely understood that the country will not be admitted until the conflict with Russia is resolved.

Stoltenberg, who visited Kiev on Monday, told Reuters that the delays in weapons deliveries had “put a dent into the trust” between Ukraine and its foreign backers.

While the EU is struggling to find enough arms and ammunition for Ukraine’s wartime needs, the latest aid package from the US had been stuck for months in Congress due to political wrangling. The delays sparked worries in Kiev, with Zelensky warning that Ukraine would lose if ammunition shortages were not remedied. Ukrainian officials have blamed the slowdown of deliveries for last year’s failed counteroffensive, as well as more recent losses of cities in the east to the Russian army.

Russia has cited NATO’s eastward expansion and the bloc’s military cooperation with Ukraine as among the root causes of the conflict. Moscow considers NATO a threat to its national security and insists that Ukraine must become a neutral country.

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