| 26 February 2024, Monday |

European lawmakers send plea to Congress on Ukraine aid

At a time when U.S. lawmakers are struggling to reach an agreement, more than a hundred prominent European lawmakers will write a joint letter to their American counterparts on Tuesday urging Congress to approve additional military aid to Ukraine.

Legislators from at least 17 nations, including France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Ireland, signed the open letter, which Reuters examined. It is a sign of growing apprehension in Europe regarding the continuation of US support for Ukraine.

It also comes just as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy flies to Washington to make his case, ahead of a tight deadline for Congress, which is scheduled to go into recess for the year by Friday.

“We hear the concerns expressed by our American friends. For years, American leaders, Democrats and Republicans, have asked Europeans to take more responsibility for their own security. We agree with this legitimate request,” the lawmakers, led by Benjamin Haddad, a French MP in President Emmanuel Macron’s party, said in the letter.

The European lawmakers, which also include Germany’s Michael Roth, the chairman of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as Giulio Tremonti, his Italian counterpart, said Europeans had contributed as much as the U.S. on Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.

“Moreover, military spending has risen all across Europe,” they said. “American military aid however is critical and urgent.”

The next round of Ukraine aid has been held up by a demand from House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson and other Republicans that no more funds be dispatched unless steps are first taken to harden the U.S. border with Mexico.

President Joe Biden has urged Congress to act by the year’s end and Democrats in Congress were trying to win approval of about $50 billion in new security assistance for Ukraine.

“A Putin victory would embolden our enemies around the world: they are watching and hoping we grow tired. Ukrainians are fighting so we don’t have to,” the European lawmakers said.

European Union leaders will meet for a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to decide on proposals to grant 50 billion euros of economic support to Kyiv, assign a further 20 billion euros to Ukraine’s military and launch accession talks.

But for that they would need to convince Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who touts his ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has threatened to veto the aid and enlargement talks.

  • Reuters