Reprioritizing Ukraine & Boosting European Security

German and Estonian Parliamentarians Warn of Potential Ukrainian Defeat in 2024, Urge Increased Support
19 February 2024
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Speaking at a press event hosted by the German Council of Foreign Relations’ (DGAP) Action Group Zeitenwende the day after the Munich Security Conference, high-ranking parliamentarians from Germany and Estonia issued a warning to the German government that unless it ups its support for Ukraine – Russia could defeat Kyiv this year or next.


Watch the video recording or read some key statements below.


“We have to do more for Ukraine and we have to do more for our own security,” Anton Hofreiter, Chair of the Bundestag’s European Affairs Committee, told journalists at the DGAP. “For all of this, we need a lot of money. So, we have to put at least €100 billion more into our army and ammunition. I think we should have a European fund of around €100 billion to buy – now – from all over the world, ammunition and weapons for Ukraine. And then I think we should have another €100 billion to make our infrastructure secure. I think that is really needed fast, because the Russian army is preparing to test NATO.”

“Our aim should be strategic defeat of Russia in this war,” said Marko Mihkelson, the Estonian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chair told reporters in Berlin; “If we don’t critically ramp up our support to Ukraine, that could bring dangerous consequences for all of us.”

“I’m with Denmark,” said Ulrich Lechte, spokesperson for the Liberal Free Democrats on the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee, referring to Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s recent call to put more ammunition on the table to send to Ukraine. “It’s all-in time.”

“President Zelensky has made clear what Ukraine needs most – ammunition, ammunition, ammunition, and long-range cruise missiles,” said Dr. Sebastian Schäfer, spokesperson for the Greens on the Bundestag’s Budget Committee and Deputy Chair of the Bundestag’s Committee for the Special Fund for the Bundeswehr. “We need to do everything we can do to finally stop the Russian war machine. We must fully enforce the sanctions and frozen Russian assets in their entirety must serve the liberation and reconstruction of Ukraine,” he said. “Make Russia pay.”

“We have to be aware that these days mark the second anniversary of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Two years means two years of suffering, of violence, of sexual-based violence,” said Dr. Daniela De Ridder (SPD), the vice-president of the OSCE parliamentary assembly. “And there is no dialogue possible with the Russians at the moment.”

“We should be ambitious and come up to this level. Putin is constantly challenging us,” said Hildegard Bentele, Member of the European Parliament with the European People’s Party, who serves as the Rapporteur on the EU’s Strategy for Critical Raw Materials – and called for the European Commission to create a Defence Commissioner. “This would attribute a clear competence and would also give a bigger push – that someone is in charge and responsible for this sector and could push it forward,” Bentele said. “I think we really need to show that we’re in crisis mode.”

“We have the chance to stop Putin in Ukraine - before he is in a position to threaten us in Germany and Europe’s NATO countries directly – and right now we’re not taking it, said Dr. Benjamin Tallis, who leads DGAP’s Action Group Zeitenwende and moderated the briefing. “We need to stop complacently pointing to what we have done and instead look at what we need to do for Ukraine to win – as that’s the single biggest step we can take to improve our security. Right now that means sending Taurus cruise missiles – something Ukraine has asked Germany for, which we can deliver and the Chancellery still won’t. It also means that Chancellor Scholz finally saying Ukraine should win  - that’s the easiest and most effective step he could take, if he backs it up with action to achieve that. This action should include seizing Russia’s frozen state assets and making Moscow pay for its crimes. It also means getting our act together on weapons production - especially ammunition. In Munich yesterday, we saw Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen detail her government’s decision to hand over all its artillery to Ukraine – and called out allies who are not stepping up. That’s something we should all be asking ourselves right now. And, as PM Fredriksen said, we can all do more – so we should just do it.”

Two German parliamentary motions calling for Taurus cruise missiles, which allow Ukraine to hit targets further away than they currently can, have been defeated in the Bundestag, while Chancellor Olaf Scholz continues to refuse to send them.

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