Munich Security Report: EU, NATO members should double down on their financial, military support for Ukraine
EU and NATO members should double down on their financial and military support for Ukraine, because a Russian victory would be catastrophic not only for Ukraine – a battle-hardened Russia with an economy on war footing would rearm quickly and look for its next victim, according to the Munich Security Report 2024 "Lose-Lose?" published on Monday.
"Nobody in Europe would be safe from Russian aggression and hybrid warfare at a time of growing doubt about the future of the US security umbrella. A Russian victory would also set a dangerous precedent for conflicts beyond Europe, showing that the sanctity of borders is no longer and that aggression and war crimes are worthwhile. Decision-makers in Europe and the US must therefore combat 'Ukraine fatigue,' help Kyiv to victory, and shrink the gray zone," the officials said in the document.
According to its authors, Russia's brutal war on Ukraine leaves no doubt of Putin's imperial plans for Eastern Europe, and Ukraine is the main target of Russia's attempts to force post-Soviet countries back into its orbit. Putin's denials of Ukrainian nationhood suggest that for him, a sovereign Ukraine cannot coexist with Russia.
The report found that while Russia has made no significant military progress, Putin has shown no signs of wanting to negotiate and the Russian public is supportive of the idea. War has thus become "the organizing principle of Russian life" and "the raison d’être for the entire machinery of Putinism."
At the same time, according to the report's authors, despite verbal commitments to move Eastern Europe out of the gray zone, it is unclear how quickly this will happen and whether the transatlantic partners are willing to pay the price. The failure of U.S. law-makers to agree on longer-term financial and military assistance packages for Ukraine and the difficulties with this in the EU in late 2023 calls into question the promise of supporting Ukraine "for as long as it takes."
The Munich Security Index is said to register a nascent "Ukraine fatigue" and public support for further aid to Ukraine, delivering heavy weapons, or imposing further sanctions on Russia falling across the G7; yet even the current level of military assistance is insufficient to help Ukraine win the war. In addition, EU and NATO enlargement are also contested, the report's authors said.
"EU and NATO members should rapidly back up the promise to shrink Eastern Europe's gray zone and help Ukraine defeat Russia with substantial and sustained political, financial, and military assistance," according to the document.
It, like a year ago, presents the results of a survey conducted in October-November 2023 by the Munich Security Conference and Kekst CNC, under which 84% of Ukrainians support integration into the EU and 79% into NATO. According to 75% of Ukrainians, the EU should speed up consideration of Ukraine's application for membership, even if this means lowering accession standards.
The survey also showed that a year later, the vast majority of Ukrainians (92% versus 93% in 2022) named the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from the territory of Ukraine, including Crimea, as acceptable conditions for a ceasefire.
The number of those who called Russia’s withdrawal from the occupied territories acceptable for a ceasefire, if it did not include Crimea, increased over the year from only 11% to 12%, while those opposed to this position decreased from 80% to 75%.
The option of returning Russian troops to the line on February 24, 2022 for a ceasefire in the fall of 2023 was approved by 14% versus 7% a year earlier, and their retention in the occupied territories by 2% versus 1%, while 78% and 94%, respectively, opposed with 85% and 97% in autumn 2022.