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Von der Leyen calls for doubling down on military support for Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 18, 2023 2:09 PM 2 min read
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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Feb. 18 that allies must “double down” on military support for Ukraine to enable it to resist Russia's aggression.

“We have to double down, and we have to continue the really massive support that is necessary that these imperialistic plans of Putin will completely fail,” von der Leyen told the Munich Security Conference, as quoted by AFP.

Von der Leyen emphasized that the EU could not wait for months and years to be able to replenish its own military arsenals or send munitions such as 155 mm artillery rounds to Ukraine.

“We could think of, for example, advanced purchase agreements that give the defense industry the possibility to invest in production lines now to be faster and to increase the amount they can deliver,” she said.

Editorial: Arming Ukraine won’t escalate war. Reluctance to do so will

Critics argue that allies’ reluctance to supply F-16 fighters and long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine will prevent Kyiv from launching a major counteroffensive and liberating the rest of Ukrainian territory. Ukraine’s lack of advanced aircraft and missiles will likely prolong Russia’s war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths.

The HIMARS missiles that Ukraine currently uses have a range of 80 kilometers and cannot reach many of the Russian-occupied areas.

On Feb. 3, the U.S. announced it would supply Ukraine with GLSDB missiles, which can travel for 150 kilometers. However, Bloomberg reported that they are likely to arrive in Ukraine in nine months, which may be too late for repelling a Russian offensive or launching a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Meanwhile, ATACMS missiles have a range of 300 kilometers.

Oleg Sukhov: What should be done to ensure Ukraine's victory in 2023
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