Europe needs to step up its defense production to protect itself and Ukraine as the U.S. will likely decrease its involvement on the continent in the near future, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told die Welt am Sonntag in a Dec. 16 interview.
Ukraine is facing an increasingly difficult situation on the battlefield with a lack of ammunition, while disputes in Washington are preventing the delivery of further support.
Pistorius noted that Europe may have to replace U.S. aid to Ukraine if Washington fails to approve new funding.
At the same time, Russia is increasing its weapon production, which Europeans need to compete with without relying on the U.S., the minister added.
"We Europeans should be more involved in guaranteeing security on our continent. We have about 5-8 years to make up for what we have lost, from the point of view of the armed forces, industry, and society," Pistorius said.
He believes that Washington will begin to shift its focus to the Indo-Pacific region by the end of the decade. As such, Europe needs to be ready and take Russia’s threats to the Baltic countries, Georgia and Moldova “very seriously”.
"This is not just saber rattling. We may face dangers at the end of this decade. But by then we will be ready for them,” he said.
Washington’s infighting has caused concern for Brussels and Kyiv. A $61-billion funding request for Ukraine has been stalled amid political disputes in Congress and opposition from parts of the Republican Party that insist any further aid for Ukraine or Israel must include significant changes to the U.S. border and immigration policy.
Congress failed to come to a deal before the start of a three-week winter break on Dec. 15. With just $1 billion remaining, funding for Ukraine is expected to run out within one month.