Ukraine's Zelenskiy appeals for faster weapons supplies to counter Russian advantage

Reuters reports that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed to allies at the Munich Security Conference to address an "artificial" shortage of weapons that is benefiting Russian forces on the battlefield. He emphasized the need for increased artillery and long-range capabilities, pointing out that Russian artillery has a longer range than Ukrainian weapons.

Zelenskiy's remarks come as his troops were forced to withdraw from the eastern town of Avdiivka. Ukraine faces acute shortages of ammunition and US military aid has been delayed in Congress. Democratic US Vice President Kamala Harris condemned "political gamesmanship" in Congress regarding US aid to Ukraine, which is putting a strain on European allies, particularly Germany, the second-largest provider of military assistance to Ukraine after the US. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz avoided questions about providing long-range Taurus missiles to Kyiv.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Ukraine must be integrated into Europe's defence programmes, emphasizing that Russia is "outmassing Ukraine" with soldiers and unconventional weapons from North Korea and Iran. She announced plans to present a defence industrial strategy proposal and open a defence innovation office in Ukraine. The comments come as concerns grow about a potential US withdrawal of support for allies under a potential Trump reelection. Democratic and Republican leaders urged allies to focus on strengthening their defence capabilities rather than worrying about Trump's potential policies.

The report highlights the critical role of US aid in supporting Ukraine's military and the urgency of addressing the delays in congressional approvals. It will be interesting to monitor developments regarding US aid provisions and the implications of a potential Trump reelection on US foreign policy and NATO solidarity.

Additionally, the report emphasizes the growing urgency for Europe to strengthen its defence capabilities independently of US support. It remains to be seen whether the European Commission's defence proposals will spur Europe to act decisively on defence preparedness.

Overall, the report suggests that the Ukraine-Russia war and the potential impact of the US election on NATO solidarity have highlighted the need for Europe to prioritize defence spending and independence.

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