We don't have enough for ourselves. Europe may cut arms supplies to Ukraine

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We don't have enough for ourselves. Europe may cut arms supplies to Ukraine
We don't have enough for ourselves. Europe may cut arms supplies to Ukraine
14 September, 12:44Photo: Соцсети
The West is afraid to face the problem of depletion of military arsenals and a decrease in the level of its own security.

Alexander Sychev

This topic was discussed recently at a meeting of representatives of the Contact Group on Ukraine, consisting of 50 countries, in the German city of Ramstein. It will again be discussed at the next meeting in Brussels at the end of September.

Judging by the information that leaked outside the walls of the Ramstein conference room, Washington's position on this issue is simple: the allies should follow the US example and increase arms supplies to Ukraine, increasing the scale of their own arms production, as well as purchases abroad, of course, mainly in USA. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin insisted on this.

The position of some countries of Western Europe, it seems, was not in all consonance with Washington. The discrepancies are explained by differences in the economic situation in the US and Europe.

According to Goldman Sachs analysts, the Western European economy is in a "terrible state." This was not the result of a confrontation with Russia. The recession that Western Europe is being drawn into, and many believe that it has already been drawn into, began somewhat earlier, before the events in Ukraine.

Already in January - March, economic growth in 27 EU countries slowed down by 0.1 percentage points to 0.5%. The slowdown in business activity is due to the fact that two years of lockdowns caused by the pandemic, energy shortages, food and transport problems, disruptions in world trade, which eventually dispersed inflation.

Consumption is falling because life becomes more expensive and people are saving. Investment is shrinking as lending rates rise with prices. The confrontation with Russia and the imposition of all sorts of sanctions against it only intensify the crisis. By the end of the year, the world will be poorer than it could have been without war.

In the UK, heating bills will reach record levels by the end of the year, with more than 65 per cent of all households forced to choose between paying for energy or buying groceries. In Italy, energy prices have more than tripled in recent years. In Germany, many enterprises close production due to unaffordable energy prices.

According to Forbes senior columnist Kenneth Rapoza, the countries of Western Europe have slipped into a long-term economic crisis, which is accompanied by strict resource consumption rationing imposed by states.

Such a policy threatens unrest and change of governments. Residents of EU countries are already taking to the streets to protest against unprecedented energy prices, pointing to the inability or unwillingness of governments to find a way out of the current crisis. Mass demonstrations are taking place in France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany. The protesters are demanding higher wages, lower fuel and food prices, and higher taxes on the wealthy and, as they are called, "energy profiteers".

The US economy is also experiencing economic difficulties. Speaking in general terms, the first quarter of this year was marked for the United States by a 0.4% decline in GDP. According to economists, the outlook for the US economy is very uncertain, but in general, the US is more likely to start growing in the coming months than the EU. This is partly due to greater independence from imported energy carriers and the size of its own market. It is noted that American companies, which are more focused on domestic markets, feel better working in Europe.

Such is the ins and outs of the different attitudes of the United States and Western Europe towards the issue of increasing the production of weapons and their supplies to Ukraine. Withdrawing investments from the civilian economy and redirecting them to the defense industry will only worsen the economic well-being of Western European countries.

The German-based Institute for the World Economy (IFW) notes the decline in Western European aid to Ukraine. Germany, France, Italy have not put forward new supply proposals since July. And it's not just because aid is wasteful. There is nothing to send.

Over the past six months, for example, Western European countries have supplied Kyiv with almost half a million shells for 240 155-mm howitzers. Since July, the Ukrainian armed forces have been using up the received arsenal at a rate of 3,000 shells per day. “Technically, this stock may be enough for Ukraine before the start of winter,” the IFW Institute study says. “However, there are some questions about how much NATO can deliver after the stock is used up.”

“EU countries have used up their stocks of ammunition, light and heavy artillery, air and anti-tank defense systems and even armored vehicles and tanks,” admitted European Commissioner Thierry Breton. “This has created an actual security vulnerability that now needs to be addressed urgently.”

The Americans sent to Ukraine 800 thousand shells for 155-mm howitzers, which are produced by one plant. Now the Pentagon plans to increase the output from about 12 thousand to 36 thousand shells per month. But even in this case, it will turn out less in a year than what was sent to Ukraine.

Conservatives want to take advantage of the situation. Their lobbying groups are promoting in Congress the idea of voting against the White House's request for more money for Ukraine, arguing that the administration is asking for a "clean check" with no long-term plan to end the sting operation.

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