Europe finds itself in new dilemma

Apart from losses in the battlefield and public fatigue, leaders are unsettled by prospect of a Trump return to the White House

By Chen Weihua in Brussels | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-24 07:17
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Children hang paper angels on Tuesday during the Angels of Memory annual action in Lviv, western Ukraine. Ukrinform via Newscom

Editor's note: On Feb 24, 2022, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine broke out, triggering an international crisis with lasting effects. Two years later, a 1,000-kilometer front line separates two irreconcilable camps. China Daily looks at Western allies' waning support for Kyiv and the possibility for peace.

As the Russia-Ukraine conflict enters its third year on Saturday, the European Union is struggling to sustain its support for Kyiv amid gloomy news from the battleground, public fatigue, the Republican Congress' blocking of US aid, and the possible win of Donald Trump in the November presidential election.

Just as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was about to speak at the Munich Security Conference, or MSC, on Feb 17, Kyiv ordered the withdrawal of its troops from the eastern town of Avdiivka, a move that Zelensky blamed on faltering Western arms supply.

In Washington, while the Senate passed a foreign aid package which includes $61 billion for Ukraine, House Speaker Mike Johnson said his chamber will not be "rushed" to pass the measure.

Asked about Ukraine aid at the MSC, Republican Nebraska Senator Pete Ricketts said the United States' southern border is now the top concern for people in the US.

At a campaign rally in South Carolina on Feb 10, Trump said he would encourage Russia to do "whatever the hell they want" to any NATO member that does not meet the spending criteria on defense. This again refreshed the memory of Europeans on the tense trans-Atlantic relationship when Trump was in office.

Carl Bildt, co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations and former Swedish prime minister, expressed that everyone in Europe is deeply worried about Trump.

"If he is elected, who knows what might happen," he said on CNN program Fareed Zakaria GPS.

There has been much talk now about how the European Union should beef up its own defense capability to increase its geopolitical clout, especially in an era of Trump.

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