EU aid to Ukraine ‘puts pressure on Americans too’
Zelensky’s Europe tour helps convince Americans to deliver F16s Patrick Boulder, a security expert at the Hack Center for Strategic Studies, says: Europe is increasingly willing to supply fighter jets to Ukraine, but the US is still reluctant. Ultimately the Americans have the final say in delivering the F16s.
Boulder sees Zelensky looking for a broader alliance in delivering F16s. ‘He is trying to engage Germany, even though they don’t have F16s of their own. The Germans were certainly instrumental in trying to convince America of the usefulness of this move.
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According to Boulder, Zelensky’s visits to various European countries were ‘the next step in his approach to Europe’. Through his visits, Zelensky is trying to get new weapons from Europe, but also trying to get America on his side, Boulder says. ‘He’s doing this in a smart way: after he used to go to parliaments by video link, he’s now going there live.’
With success: Last weekend, French President Macron and German Chancellor Scholz made major commitments of military support during Zelensky’s visit to both countries. No commitments have yet been made about the fighter jets, though that’s only a matter of time, according to Boulder.
Increasing military support from Germany, France and the Netherlands is putting pressure on the Americans, Boulder says. “If European pressure mounts on America, they can form a united front against the Americans. Of course if those F16s come from their own European stocks, that also makes it easier for Biden to sell them in their own country.”
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Boulder sees Europe’s support increasing anyway, now that Switzerland will also supply weapons to Ukraine. ‘They seem to be giving up their neutrality a little bit, I think, under a lot of pressure from other European countries.’
At the end of Zelensky’s trip through Europe, information about Ukrainian strategy also emerged from the recently leaked Pentagon Papers. The Washington Post has seen the documents and writes that Zelensky is out to occupy Russian villages to put extra pressure on Russia. According to Boulder, those plans are probably ‘a brainstorm’ and ‘not really concrete’.
According to Boulder, a more realistic scenario is for Ukraine to cross the border to attack strictly military strategic targets. “The focus is on liberating Ukraine. If you can disturb important targets across the border, you must not fail to do so.’
Also Read | Washington Post: Zelensky wants to attack Russian territory
According to Boulder, the Americans also do not want Ukraine to enter Russian territory on a large scale. ‘They understand if they’re over the border for an important munitions storage or logistics hub.’
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