Borrell's Bold Call: Europe's Inaction Leaves Ukraine Vulnerable

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.10 - 2024 9:15 AM CET

Photo: Alexandros Michailidis /
Photo: Alexandros Michailidis /
As Ukraine faces relentless attacks, the European Union's reluctance to provide critical aid sparks concern.

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As Russia escalates its missile and bomb assaults on Ukrainian cities, the European Union's hesitance to deploy sufficient air defenses to Ukraine has come under scrutiny.

EU High Representative Josep Borrell recently pointed out at the Nueva Economia Forum that although European armies have about 100 Patriot missile batteries, Ukraine's urgent request for just seven of these has not been fulfilled.

An Urgent Plea for Support

"I spoke with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba some days ago and he is desperately asking for seven Patriot batteries to protect his country. It should be inconceivable that we were not able to provide them, given that the Western armies have about 100 batteries of Patriot. And still, we are not able to provide the seven they are asking desperately for," Borrell stated.

He emphasized that the EU's focus should not only be on Ukraine's future reconstruction but also on preventing its current devastation. Investing more in prevention could significantly reduce the costs of recovery.

"And Ukrainians do not have the capacity to avoid destruction because, to tell the truth, we should be doing more and quicker in order to allow them to have the capacities they need," Borrell remarked.

Arms and Ammunition

He also pointed out the issue of ammunition supply, which ties into the European defense industry's capacity to increase production and develop the institutional means to do so. Given that European defense has traditionally not operated under a unified supranational plan, addressing these concerns falls within the purview of EU member states.

Borrell stressed the importance of addressing both funding and the need for a collective approach to action.

"We have to face the two problems that we have. One is a problem of expenditure, of money, of resources, of finance," Borrell stated, and then added, "And then we have a problem of collective action: how do we manage, how do we organise our collective action?"

"We have a problem of expenditure because we have neglected defence and security issues since the euro crisis."

He recalled his recent appeals to the foreign and defense ministers of European nations to provide Ukraine with additional air defense systems to counter the Russian missiles and bombs devastating Ukrainian cities and infrastructure.

Since Russia's military invasion began, the EU has been supporting Ukraine with significant economic, political, humanitarian, and military aid, including weapons and ammunition, as well as training for Ukrainian soldiers through the intergovernmental European Peace Fund.

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