European allies pledge more support for Ukraine

European powers vowed on Friday to step up their support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia, with France's president emphasizing at a major security conference that the time was not right for talks with Moscow. 

Days before the one-year anniversary of Russia's incursion into Ukraine, Moscow made a minor advance in its relentless offensive. 
Wagner, the leader of the Russian mercenary group, claimed the capture of a village near Bakhmut, the eastern city at the center of Moscow's offensive. 

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky insisted that lives were at stake as he opened the Munich Security Conference with an impassioned plea to allies to accelerate assistance. 

"We need speed — speed of our agreements, speed of delivery... speed of decisions to limit Russian potential," he explained. 

French President Emmanuel Macron joined the call for allies to "intensify our support" for Ukraine's forces as they launch a counter-offensive. 

"It is not the time for dialogue because we have a Russia that has chosen war, chosen to escalate the war, and chosen to go as far as committing war crimes and attacking civilian infrastructure," he said. 

While insisting he did not want to see a drawn-out war, he said France was ready for a "prolonged conflict". 

Meanwhile, Chancellor Olaf Scholz insisted that German support was "built to last" and urged allies to expedite deliveries of heavy tanks promised to Ukraine. 

- Scholz tank turnaround - US Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will also attend the conference in Munich, as will China's top diplomat Wang Yi and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. 

Russian delegates, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who had previously been a regular attendee, were not invited. 

Scholz's requests for allies to increase tank deliveries highlighted a recent reversal in his political fortunes. 

Until last month, he faced accusations of dithering over his refusal to allow the delivery of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, despite mounting pressure from Kiev. 

Finally, Berlin agreed to allow the widely used in Europe armaments to be sent to Ukraine, and pledged to deliver some of the most modern ones from its military stocks. 

According to German law, Berlin must allow other countries that use the tanks to re-export them. 

However, it is now having difficulty persuading allies to follow suit. 

"Those who can send such battle tanks should do so right now," Scholz said at the conference, adding that he would be "vigorously campaigning" to get allies to act on the issue. 

- 'We Need Ukraine in the EU' - Scholz and Macron later met with Polish President Andrzej Duda on the sidelines, with the German leader praising the trio's "good cooperation" in providing assistance to Ukraine. 

In his speech, Zelensky reiterated Ukraine's desire to join the European Union and NATO. Ukraine was recently granted EU candidate status, though full membership is still a long way off. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki backed Ukraine's bid to join the EU, saying the "normal route to accession" should be abandoned given Kyiv's "extraordinary" position. 

"We need Ukraine to be a part of the European Union and, eventually, NATO. "From our perspective, the sooner the better," he said. 

The gathering will also focus on US-China relations, which have been strained since Washington shot down an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon over US territory. 

With high-level US and Chinese delegations in town, there has been speculation of off-the-record talks to de-escalate tensions. 

The massive white Chinese balloon was spotted earlier this month over a series of secret nuclear weapons sites before being shot down just off the eastern US coast. 

The incident caused a diplomatic schism, prompting Blinken to cancel a rare trip to China. Beijing, on the other hand, claims the balloon was merely a stray weather research craft.

Leave A Comment


Subscribe to our newsletter to stay.

Sponsor Ad