Judy Asks: Is European support for Ukraine dependent on the United States?

Opinion piece (Carnegie Europe)
28 October 2022

There are three ways to look at US aid to Ukraine in comparison with aid from Europe. The first is in terms of military support. Unquestionably, the United States can supply more and better weapons systems than its allies—reflecting America’s disproportionate share of investment in Europe’s defense. European countries that still have ex-Soviet equipment have made important contributions, however, and others, including the UK, France, and Germany have provided capable modern weapons.

The second aspect is financial assistance: Ukraine’s economy is in desperate straits and getting worse as the war continues. Though the United States and Europe have offered similar amounts of funding, and the EU has done more to support Ukrainian refugees, the United States has disbursed assistance funds more quickly. Europeans need to accelerate, and to start to plan for a massive long-term reconstruction effort.

The last aspect is political leadership: with some Republicans threatening to block further aid for Ukraine if they control Congress after the US midterm elections in November, the United States may no longer act as the convening power for Western support to Ukraine. If that happens, Europe must be ready to act independently. Ukraine’s success, in war and peace, is more vital to Europe’s interests than it is to America’s.

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