Viktor Orban blocked €50 billion in aid to Ukraine, especially while the European Union (EU), in turn, blocked €6.3 billion in solidarity funds for Hungary due to rule of law concerns. Orban, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest ally in the EU, has said he wants to force a rethink of the bloc’s policy in Ukraine and questioned the idea of handing over funds to Kyiv in the next four years. The EU has unblocked funding for Hungary so that the Hungarian Prime Minister backs down his objections to aid to Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the new financing and said it would strengthen the country’s economy and financial stability. It also sends a signal to Putin that Ukraine is in a reasonably stable economic situation at the moment.
Do you think that without financial aid from the United States, blocked by Congress, Ukraine is destined to lose the war?
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the Biden Administration has provided more than $70 billion in aid to Ukraine, including $44.2 billion in security assistance, $22.9 billion in direct budget support, and $2.8 billion in humanitarian aid. On October 20, 2023, the Administration submitted to Congress a new request for $106 billion in fiscal year 2024 emergency supplemental funding for Ukraine, Israel, border security, and other purposes. About $61 billion in financing went to Ukraine. The request remains under consideration by Congress and has been blocked by hardline Republicans, who believe that funds for Ukraine should be diverted to US border security. They also believe that NATO’s European allies should bear more economic and military burdens by supporting Ukraine. For them, it’s about sharing the burden. This is also the opinion of Donald Trump, the likely Republican candidate in the presidential election in November 2024. The Biden administration is struggling to get Congress to approve the funding. This is a problem. The government hopes that Ukraine will continue its warfront. This is in the context of the stagnation of the spring and summer offensive in Ukraine starting in 2023. Without sufficient military and humanitarian aid from the EU and the US, the Ukrainian counter-offensive is likely to retreat. It does not necessarily mean that Ukraine has lost the war, but it probably means a stalemate in the eastern regions, in particular, where Russian troops have been since 2014.
Should Germany supply long-range Taurus missiles, since the UK and France are sending their Storm Shadow and Scalp missiles?
The United Kingdom proposed to Germany. London proposed that Berlin could supply Taurus cruise missiles to the UK Army in exchange for the UK providing its own long-range Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, which are already deployed by the Ukrainian Air Force. Chancellor Scholz is now considering this proposal after it was rejected by the Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament. Scholz worries that deploying his own Taurus missiles in Ukraine is dangerous, as they have a range of 500 kilometers and could be used by Ukraine to attack Russian cities. Scholz is also concerned that if the German Taurus missiles are captured by Russian forces, it will reveal how they work and can be copied; Germany wants to continue using missiles until the 2050s, and this is also a factor. The British proposal has broad support in Germany (including from the opposition CDU Christian Democrats), and it gives Berlin more options on whether to deploy missiles in Ukraine.