Europe and Ukraine must consider the realistic possibility that Donald Trump will win the 2024 U.S. presidential election and very quickly conclude an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Czech President Petr Pavel said on Jan. 29, as reported by Polish media outlet TVN24.
"This is not about undermining the transatlantic bond, [or] questioning the United States as an ally, but we should realistically admit that Trump sees many things differently," Pavel added.
The Czech politician and former chairman of the NATO Military Committee noted that Ukraine, unlike Russia, has limited options for action on the battlefield. Ukraine's allies must therefore recommend limiting offensive actions and strengthening defense.
Ukrainian officials have consistently requested strengthened air defense systems, including drones, fighter jets, and helicopters from Western allies amidst evolving battlefield dynamics with Russia. These weapons could improve Ukraine's ability to support its ground troops and intercept Russian bombers before they can strike military or civilian targets.
According to Pavel, the only way to achieve this is to supply Kyiv with not only purely defensive weapons but also those that can disrupt the Russian army's supply routes, such as artillery or longer-range cruise missiles, as well as F-16 aircraft.
"Only a balance of forces can force both sides to understand that they will not achieve further successes and that it is time for negotiations," Pavel said.
Trump, who served as president between 2017 and 2021 and is currently running in the 2024 election, has previously implied he would cut support to Ukraine if elected and said his primary focus would be to secure an immediate ceasefire with Russia within 24 hours, without specifying what terms the proposed peace deal would be on.
The controversial U.S. President is currently ahead in the polls to become the Republican nominee for the election. If nominated as the Republican nominee, Trump would once again face incumbent President Joe Biden in the November presidential election.