What Ukraine needs from its European partners (and the US) in 2024.

As 2024 approaches, the top priority of the Ukrainian government is best summed up as ending the war against Russia while regaining as much territory as possible.

President Volodymyr Zelensky claims that Ukraine will only stop fighting when it regains its pre-2014 borders, including Crimea.


This article, written by Luigi Lonardo, University College Cork, is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the UK Defence Journal. If you would like to submit your own article on this topic or any other, please see our submission guidelines


This objective appears highly unlikely in 2024, but if it wants any hope of achieving it, Ukraine will need help from its European partners – the main ones being the EU, which has generally shown strong support to Kyiv (with some notable exceptions) and the UK. Ukraine’s objectives are largely overlapping with those of its allies, and help will likely need to come in three forms.

First, military support. Despite Russia having the bigger army, Ukraine has so far been able to stop the Russian army advancing further than the Dnipro river in the south and the Donbas region in the east. This is mainly because of sophisticated military equipment sold or gifted by its partners, and because of intelligence information transferred by Nato and the US.

To avoid being outmatched, Ukraine will need continuous support by its allies in 2024 because, having nearly exhausted its own equipment, it is “almost totally reliant on western assistance for artillery and rocket artillery systems and ammunition”, as reported by a study from the US Congress.

The EU has already distributed finance to its member states to deliver military equipment to Kyiv, and now, for the first time in its history, the EU will finance member states to assist with the production of military equipment. The EU finances member states both through a special common fund called the European Peace Facility (for the transfer of existing weapons), or through its budget (for assisting with production costs).

Second, economic support. Because of the war, Ukraine is in huge financial debt. But unlike other countries in the same condition, its dire economic situation is much harder to manage due to the war efforts. The US Congress decided to block financial aid to Kyiv, and now the EU has done the same.

However, the reason for the EU’s decision not to commit more money was not that the US had not done so. It was, instead, Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán – sometimes called Russia’s “Trojan horse in the EU” – who vetoed the transfer of €50 billion (£43 billion) in EU aid to Ukraine.

Third, political support. This is the ideological underpinning of the other two forms of support. It is also necessary to influence public opinion. It is important for Kyiv that public opinion in Europe remains overwhelmingly in its favour, so that democratic leaders have another incentive to stand with Ukraine. Political support may come in the form of public statements (“we stand with Ukraine”), as well as by visiting or hosting Zelensky.

These are acts which show that, two years into the conflict, the commitment of European partners to the Ukrainian cause remains strong – despite the economic cost for their constituencies, shifting international attention towards the war between Israel and Hamas, and the manifest disunity of European leaders.

Another important symbolic decision was the EU’s choice to formally open membership talks with Kyiv. But it is, at this stage, largely symbolic because the accession process typically takes nearly a decade.

Will aid continue?

In 2024, there will be three elections that have the potential to determine what might change: the presidential elections in Russia in March, the EU parliamentary elections in May, and the US presidential elections in November. The US and EU have been Ukraine’s most influential supporters so far, but electoral changes could mean a different policy. (The UK is also likely to have a general election, but both main parties seem committed to continuing aid.)

Military aid looks likely to remain untouched at least until the European elections. It is in the European nations’ interest to stop Russia moving further into Ukraine. Advances could allow Vladimir Putin to cut off more access to the Black Sea ports, for instance, or even target Moldova.

So far, this has overridden political contentiousness, even though some opposition figures have suggested that providing weapons to Ukraine only prolongs the war and exacerbates insecurity. With the exception of the previous Polish govervnment, the new Slovakian one and Hungary, no other EU member government has announced that it would stop – or is considering stopping – the sale or gift of weapons to Ukraine.

This is likely to continue even if Donald Trump, who is essentially a pro-Putin candidate, were to be elected US president and were to announce an end to US military support to Ukraine, as has been hinted.

Ongoing financial aid from the EU is also looking possible. The situation in the US is more uncertain, where the bipartisan support of Ukraine that existed at the beginning of the war seems to have evaporated . There is some likelihood that a Trump presidency would try to block both military and financial aid, according to some sources. This has been suggested in the policy agenda drafted by America First Policy Institute, which is staffed by former Trump officials.

The Ukrainian government hopes that its membership of the EU will materialise soon. The commission has said that it must fulfil the conditions for membership as any other candidate would. The next legislature (2024-2029) in the EU will likely decide at least the timeframe for membership, if not the specific conditions.

Ukraine faces a formidable challenge in reclaiming its pre-2014 borders. To achieve this, continued military support, economic aid and unwavering political backing from European partners, particularly the EU and the UK, are crucial. While a policy shift in the EU is unlikely, the concrete possibility of a Trump presidency in 2024 holds a lot of uncertainty for Ukraine – and that has got to be one Zelensky’s biggest worries.The Conversation

Luigi Lonardo, Lecturer in EU law, University College Cork. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Andy reeves
Andy reeves
1 month ago

Use what they’ve been given better

Last edited 1 month ago by Andy reeves
UKDJ
UKDJ
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Incredibly weird comment.

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
1 month ago

I think that the West is beginning to feel Ukraine fatigue and frustration. The much vaunted counter attack hasn’t been overly successful. And Ukraine is becoming a black hole where everyone is throwing their own important things into

Math
Math
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Some equipements seem to have worked properly. But tanks and IFV’s were not delivered in any significant manner. Artillerie ammo is also lacking, so… It seems that we will have to wait until new facilities are operationnal before anything can happen.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Andy, I don’t think anyone realistically expected great things of the UKR counterattack in 2023. Western tanks arrived in small numbers and late (especially the M1s). No F-16s yet supplied so UKR does not even have air parity let alone limited air superiority. Russian forces much larger and they can absorb high casualties and relish attritional warfare – UKR cannot, so move cautiously, limiting exposure of large target arrays. Russian defences multi-layered and difficult to breach.
This war could last for years.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

To be fair it was our own media who hyped that attack.
As I said at the time, like Kursk all over again.

Marked
Marked
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

The west needs to look at mine clearing tech and a boat load of it. Until Ukraine can counter the millions of mines that bog them down any advances will be limited.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Marked

The IR drone sensors have made it possible to find mines because they show up due to thermal inertia. However that’s probably another victim of the winter. AFU counter-battery fire has been excellent since you can’t clear mines while under fire, unless you use cluster munitions. However limited availability is a problem. Less than half the promised supply! Destroying the RF Navy and the KA-52 helos are both great achievements. Maritime mine clearance will keep the western Black Sea lanes open. 14 to 1 RF ratio of blood and treasure is impressive cost.. So there are lots of great achievements… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by lonpfrb
Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

I don’t see much Ukraine fatigue in the UK. I do see a Prime Minister who won’t spend the extra money it needs, but I don’t think that’s the same thing.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Jon

Fatigue with HM Treasury, definitely. Get us some oligarchs funds to reduce the cost of living.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

kaputin would like that to be the narrative and mainstream media will collaborate since it’s easier than doing the research to have an informed opinion. How well did they cover Iraq or Afghan… Since prisoner trump did a ‘really great deal’ with the Taliban and ignored the national government and allies the USA abandoned Afghan at the cost of many lives. He takes no accountability for that, nor the license that he gave kaputin to attack Ukraine secure in the knowledge that the Budapest Treaty would be ignored and USA would have little appetite for another war. Joe Biden has… Read more »

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

It is clear now that Russia with the help of its allies can out-produce and resupply its troops faster than NATO can resupply Ukraine.

If NATO went head to head with Russia we would be facing the same problem.

This is a massive wake-up call.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago

Absolute crap. If Russia can out-produce western support for Ukraine they would have won the war already.

Numerous Russian millbloggers report that N Korean artillery shells are detonating inside Russian artillery when fired. The UkR SF blew up the Severomuysky tunnel shipping illicit Chinese hardware into Russia. The Iranians cannot produce enough Shahed drones fast enough.

NATO countries have supplied UkR with less than 7% of their very deep ammunition stockpiles and even our MoD has placed replenishment orders with BAE etc

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

“If Russia can out-produce Western support for Ukraine they would have won the war already”

That is an oversimplification, it does not take Russia’s poor tactics and Ukraine’s determination into account.

The truth is if Russia was running out of men /equipment/ ammo then Ukraine would be pushing forward with no resistance.

The bitter truth is, that Russia is currently pushing forward on 7 fronts including the 16 km deep “counter-offensive” bridgehead near Robotyne.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago

If there is one thing that I have learned from following this blog it’s that you “Bringer of Facts”, the poster known as “Jim” and a few others post mostly rubbish. Why, I have no idea. So lets look at your most recent statements, which as usual quote no sources “Russia is currently pushing forward on 7 fronts” Rubbish. The most accurate information on day-to-day fighting is the ISW website, which is not reporting any Russian territorial gains. “16 km deep “counter-offensive” bridgehead near Robotyne” There is no 16km deep Russian bridgehead, the ISW website has not mentioned Robotyne for… Read more »

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

You are clueless and verbally abusive, all civil discourse here is lost on you. You only come on this thread to pick a fight, honestly, your hostility is unjustified. I watch several Ukrainian Military channels every day and they are better than ISW which gives very little battle detail and is slow to update. Pay attention: Russia is currently on the offensive near: Kupiansk, Lyman, Chasiv Yar, Klischivka, Adiivka, Heoshivka, and Robotyne, and yes they have made small territorial gains but at great loss. “There is no 16km deep Russian bridgehead“, I am talking about the Ukrainian bridgehead near Robotyne,… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Bringer of facts
Jonno
Jonno
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

Get real. This is an internationally recognised medium sized country being invaded by the most populus in Europe ( If you can call Russia European). I dont think any other equivalent country could have fought more intellegently or with such bravery; even if they tried. I dont care if you feel tired and frustrated- Boo Hoo.

Something Different
Something Different
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy reeves

We need to back Ukraine to the hilt. Not only are they a democracy in need but it serves our interest as weakened Russia is less likely to make a move on the Baltics which would trigger article 5 and potentially leading to all out conflict

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago

If we allow Russia to keep ANY UKR territory we’ll have set a dismally dangerous precedent & have betrayed UKR. Solidarity, resolute defence & unflagging support & supplies are essential.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank62

#ArmUkraineASAP 🇺🇦

Kai
Kai
1 month ago

They’ll be asking for an aircraft carrier next with a fleet of F35’s.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Kai

Turkie has closed the Bosporus according to the relevant treaty so no CSGs for Ukraine…

700 Glengarried Men
700 Glengarried Men
1 month ago

I think it would be better for the UK to buy back t80 and t84 that ukraine has made and sold globally, these could be upgraded at UK plants with better thermal and fire control prior to donating to Ukraine, this would help as ukraine has logistics and personnel trained to use them

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

While Ukraine has the logistics and trained personnel to use T80/84,we don’t,even if you could find a supply of them available to refurbish any capability we have is focused on CR2/3.

700 Glengarried Men
700 Glengarried Men
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Paul the idea is to supply these to Ukraine allowing us to keep what challys we have left, pakistan Thailand .South korea and Cyprus have numbers of these tanks

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

Ukraine already has access to enough ex Soviet era T series Tanks than they can hope to refurbish, the point I was making is that they have the skills to do this, we don’t.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago

Whatever Europe does the USA has a $Trillion Defence budget so will likely remain the major support for Ukraine. They’ve spent about 5% of annual spending to help Ukraine destroy 50% of RF combat effectiveness. As Luigi said the next president will be critical to the support provided. The District Court and Supreme Court of Colorado were unanimous in finding #45 an Insurrectionist based on the evidence. So did the investigation of Maine. The 14th Amendment Section 3 states that Insurrectionists are ineligible for public office. Each Secretary of State has a duty to uphold the Constitution of the United… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by lonpfrb
Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
1 month ago
Reply to  lonpfrb

Ukrainian territory lost under the Trump presidency… 0 sq Km. You are delusional.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Since I’ve said nothing about Ukrainian territory losses, the delusion is not with me. Looking at #45’s impact on Ukraine, his ‘really great deal’ to get USA out of Afghan consisted of doing that deal with the Taliban and not the National Government or Allies. Unsurprisingly the effect of that was a collapse of local organisations (fear) and so rapid advance of the Taliban leading to a dangerous exit for all non-Taliban people including many avoidable deaths. Clearly #45 doesn’t do Diplomacy or Planning or Consensus nor take Accountability for his errors. However he did show kaputin and xi that… Read more »

Luke Rogers
Luke Rogers
1 month ago
Reply to  lonpfrb

Projection, childish name calling and assumption. I’m sure you think these walls of text look intelligent but they really have no substance or truth in them. The random capitalisations suggest ESL or AI generated text.

Meirion X
Meirion X
28 days ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

👎

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  Luke Rogers

Yet it is Republicans who are blocking further aid for UKR. It was Trump who praised Putin.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
1 month ago

Ukraine needs equipment and training that allows it to achieve much more losses than it receives. If Russia is playing the attrition game then Ukraines supporters have to help them succeed. The U.K. supported Ukraine from the start so can’t waiver now. Same with other countries. It’s not acceptable to say we have had enough now. It was said we are in this until the end. A lot more economic aid is needed. There should be production lines opened for vehicles, missiles, ammunition to meet the needs of what’s required. To stop or reduce support is an awful thing to… Read more »

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
1 month ago

But the lesson to learn from the war in Ukraine is EU/NATO needs to increase its military-industrial capacity and output.

Russia has indeed found our weakness, that is they can produce ammo/resupply their troops faster than the West can resupply Ukraine.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago

At present, Ukraine is killing more Russian soldiers than can be recruited and trained, and destroying more Russian equipment than can be manufactured/refitted- even with Russia moving to a war footing. Russia can maintain this current stalemate by sacrificing men and materiel, but they can’t advance any further. Ukraine, while heavily outnumbered, only has sufficient equipment and ammunition to hold Russia, not really push it back. It’s vital that we continue to provide (at the very least) the means for Ukraine to maintain the status quo until Russia is so drained of men and equipment that they can’t operate- which… Read more »

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

This is a good analysis. The UkR have really done very well, considering only three years ago they had next to nothing to fight with. We have given UkR about £3bn in support. It’s about time the Franch, the Spanish and the Italians step up with some hardware and ammunition

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Seconded. Joe’s is a good analysis. The issue is that Ukraine does not consider its forces can mount its preferred offensive towards the Sea of Azov without taking unacceptable losses. Putin can call on much greater numbers and in Russian culture life seems to be cheap. We were simply too slow to deliver the tanks and IFVs and Russian forces are well dug in. We are where we are.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I don’t disagree, we’ve done a very good job with what we’ve had available (the sorry state of our equipment inventory, both active and reserve should be noted, though). I just mean that now is not the time to relent- we need to be stepping up. If we don’t increase spending and (where possible) domestic production of munitions in particular, we run the risk of having to use them ourselves in the Baltics- or elsewhere. The world is heading back into a far more unstable position, increasing our military production capacity now serves us well. While I’m very much in… Read more »

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
1 month ago

How much ammunition, weaponry etc have the Irish given Ukraine? Who is this Lonardo character? I’ve never heard of him

Micki
Micki
1 month ago

Europe is not full of gold , we are not able to give money and weapons to Ukraine permanently.
What Ukraine has to do is start negotiations as soon as possible, soon or later they will have to do it but stop sending men to death.

Hermes
Hermes
1 month ago
Reply to  Micki

Helping Ukraine will cost us less than it seems.
One reason is that most of the budget allocated to Ukraine is used directly by European industries…

But the main reason is that Russia’s victory over Ukraine will have greater consequences for the EU and the West’s position in the world.
Something that money can’t buy.

So helping Ukraine with money is protecting something that money cannot buy. This trade has no equivalent.

Of course, I’m not even talking about the morality of the situation…

Frank62
Frank62
1 month ago
Reply to  Micki

Strange you criticise UKR defending herself from existential threat, but say nothing about the Russian invaders selling the lives of her troops very cheaply.

Meirion X
Meirion X
28 days ago
Reply to  Micki

👎

Jonny
Jonny
1 month ago

I fail to see the downside in stepping up our own military industrial capability so that we can produce things and ship them straight to Ukraine. Many upsides though: -Money that gets spent within the UK so gets circulated, gov paying for salaries instead of welfare etc -Ensuring we maintain the suitable skills for military manufacturing -Helping Ukraine beat our number one enemy -Potentially exports down the line if we significantly boost our military industrial complex -British military kit getting tested in a real scenario -Any surplus kit can be used in our own severely depleted forces -Too many to… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonny

Manufacturing of a variety of Equipment has been stepped up aside from Artillery Ammunition,where appropriate.

Sam
Sam
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

We are already sending 200 missiles this week, as ASRAAM ground launched has apparently proved very effective. Hopefully more to follow, as both SS and ASRAAM do seem to be very effective.

They are also using ground launched Brimstones against tanks, which is not something the British Army does but should be relatively straight forward to re-supply.