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Judy Asks: Is European Support for Ukraine Dependent on the United States?

Foto: U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders

The Biden administration has led the Western military and economic response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Europe must be ready to act independently if and when Washington’s policy changes. Read Secretary General Kate Hansen Bundt's, and ten other experts' takes.

You can read all the answers on Carnegie Europe's website:


Kate Hansen Bundt, Secretary General of the Norwegian Atlantic Committee

Definitely! The United States has both decided the strategy and made it hard for Europe not to provide political support, money, and weapons to Ukraine. Subsequently, we—the West—are deeply invested in the Russian war in Ukraine.

The UK and Poland, together with the United States, have over the past ten years been training Ukrainian forces and supplying them with weapons. That support increased following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Last autumn, U.S. intelligence disclosed that Russia planned an invasion of Ukraine. While few allies believed them, Washington nonetheless deployed 25,000 extra troops to Eastern Europe and delivered more weapons to Kyiv. The Baltic states, Poland, and the UK recognized and supported the United States, but most allies seem to have been unprepared to provide the weapons support that has become so crucial for Ukraine in its existential fight against Putin’s Russia.

The point is that the strategy decided by the United States—to provide the weapons needed for Ukraine to have a chance to defeat Russia—was supported by most European allies. The United States also took the lead in shaping NATO’s role—although not providing weapons as such—to deliver intelligence and stand collectively firm on Ukraine’s side. I have no doubt that without U.S. strategy and leadership, the Europeans would have reverted to their preferred strategy: diplomacy and negotiations to end the war—most likely on Russian terms.