Ukraine urges allies to step up arms shipments – POLITICO

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Kyiv – Governments around the world are not shy about declaring how much support they have given to Ukraine. But officials in Kyiv say more needs to be done — and urgently.

“Russia is in no hurry” to end the war and Moscow’s strategy is to exhaust Ukrainian forces, said Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration. Therefore, “the further development of this war directly depends on the military aid provided to Ukraine,” she told a group of Visit by members of European national parliaments and think tanks on Friday.

The country’s western partners are increasingly providing arms and equipment as well as economic aid to Ukraine. But officials in Kyiv say the same countries can and should go further – and that despite the rhetoric, not all friendly capitals are meeting Ukraine’s expectations.

The deputy prime minister said that while she saw a recent meeting of senior defense officials at Germany’s Ramstein airbase to coordinate aid to Ukraine as the beginning of a “new reality,” there were still gaps.

“We need a lot of weapons now,” she said. Still, Stefanishyna noted, “some of the countries did it to tick the box.”

According to Stefanishyna, some governments are announcing help to avoid political unease, but without providing the type – or quantity – of arms Ukraine needs.

A senior Ukrainian military official said his country’s priorities now include the procurement of MLRS multiple-launch missile systems, drones, warplanes, radar and air defense systems, and coastal defense systems.

During her visit, organized by Slovakia-based GLOBSEC think tank, European legislators saw the effects of the war first-hand.

On the streets of the Ukrainian capital, people are slowly returning to old habits – some residents have returned home, young people are rushing around on e-scooters, and some locals are sitting outside in cafes enjoying the sun. But the war can be felt everywhere: sandbags fill the windows of government offices. Some businesses remain closed and soldiers guard makeshift checkpoints.

And just a short drive outside of Kyiv, in the town of Borodyanka, burnt and partially collapsed buildings line a residential street. Nonetheless, even amid the destruction, a group of boys were playing outside on a recent afternoon.

Meanwhile, fighting is raging in the east.

Partly to boost domestic morale and to solidify Kiev’s future strategic direction, the Ukrainian government is urging EU leaders to grant the country candidate status as soon as possible.

Ihor Zhovkva, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told MPs that while the country understands that the accession talks will be difficult, “we in Ukraine will not understand it if in June, for purely bureaucratic reasons, Ukraine does not candidate status is granted. ”

The candidate status has “great symbolic meaning for Ukraine,” Zhovkva said.

Officials in Kyiv acknowledged they need to win over some of their counterparts in European capitals.

Stefanishyna said that European governments skeptical about Ukraine’s EU membership aspirations had “weak” arguments.

The vast majority of EU countries support Ukraine’s accession aspirations, the deputy prime minister told reporters, adding that about six or seven countries are skeptical. She named Germany, Portugal, Spain, Austria and Sweden as countries with a “need for discussion”.

The deputy prime minister also called for even stronger European sanctions to isolate Russia’s economy faster.

Other officials were even more blunt in their message to partners.

Vitali Klitschko, the world boxing champion that is now mayor of Kyiv, told the delegation that even the capital was not safe – a siren went off during his meeting with the visiting politicians – and that instability in Ukraine meant instability for the entire region.

Friends of Ukraine should stop trading with Russia, he added, saying European politicians aiming to be friends with Ukraine and with Russia are trying to be “half-pregnant”.

“You have to make a choice,” he said, “support Russia or Ukraine.” Ukraine urges allies to step up arms shipments - POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

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