The war in Ukraine is approaching a new phase that has led most of the allies to bet on sending the offensive weapons for which Volodimir Zelensky clamors. For now, the EU plans to release another 500 million euros from the European Peace Facility (EPF) on Monday, which is the fund used to provide military aid to Ukraine. To do this, the foreign ministers hope to circumvent the veto of Hungary. With this seventh package, the total aid from the EU for weapons would reach 4,000 million euros plus the 7,500 that the states have delivered on their part.
Tension between the allies before a new phase of the war with the shipment of arms to UkraineRELATED
Beyond that decision, the debate is now focused on opening a new stage with the shipment of offensive weapons to increase Ukraine’s ability to win against Russia. The pressure is growing for the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, who is reticent under the premise that going to that phase would mean an escalation by Vladimir Putin and the fear of a nuclear attack.
On the one hand, most of the allies want the tanks they are demanding to be delivered to Ukraine. Fundamentally, it is about the Leopard2, which, being manufactured in Germany, requires your authorization so that other countries can deliver it to you. Poland is the country that is in that circumstance and that has spoken the hardest. But the Balts are also exerting pressure.
“It is imperative to send all the weapons that Ukraine needs. Russia has to understand, and the sooner the better, that this war will end badly for Russia, Lithuanian Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis expressed when he arrived at the Foreign Council. “It is important that Ukraine gets the material it needs,” said his Finnish counterpart, Pekka Haavisto.
“In the current state of the war, Ukraine must be supplied with the tanks it needs to be able not only to contain, but also to repel [al ejército ruso]”, expressed in an interview in elDiario.es the high representative of the EU, Josep Borrell. The presidents of the Commission, Ursula von der Layen, and of the European Council, Charles Michel, have spoken along the same lines in recent days.
The pressure on Scholz is not only external, but within his coalition government there are different sensitivities. The two minority partners are in favor of allowing the tanks to reach Ukraine. Thus, the Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, of the Greens, assured in an interview on a French channel that if Poland requests authorization, Germany “will not oppose it.” However, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, from Scholz’s Social Democratic party, assured that it is a decision that corresponds to the chancellor and that he will take it “soon”, although he did not reveal where he leans. In an appearance with Emmanuel Macron, Scholz maintained the ambiguity.
“The Government of Spain has always been making its decisions with a single guide, which is what is best at all times so that Ukraine can defend its freedom, its independence and territorial integrity, which basically is to give it the means to let peace return”, said the Spanish José Manuel Albares, who did not want to specify if this means sending offensive material (something that also generates discrepancy in the coalition). “The unity of all Europeans is a value and is the best tool we have to face this enormous challenge posed by Vladimir Putin’s aggression,” added the minister.
What to do with Russia’s 300 billion?
While that debate is taking place, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, has put another on the table by urging the 27 to take decisions on the reconstruction of Ukraine. Specifically, he proposes that the frozen 300,000 million be confiscated for this purpose, according to what he has said in separate interviews in The world Y Financial Times.
“In the short term,” Von der Leyen said in November, “we could create a structure to manage these funds and invest them. We would then use the proceeds from that money for Ukraine. And once the sanctions are lifted, these funds should be used for Russia to pay full compensation for the damage done to Ukraine.” Within the EU there were doubts as to whether these funds, which were confiscated under specific legislation that provided for their freezing, could be used for other purposes.
That decision will not be taken, in any case, at the Foreign Affairs Council held in Brussels this Monday, where new sanctions are expected to be adopted for the repression in Iran. What is ruled out is that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard enters the list of terrorist organizations. As Borrell has explained, for this it would be necessary for a court of an EU state to have declared it. “You can’t say: I consider you a terrorist because I don’t like you,” said the head of European diplomacy.