No new military pledges to Ukraine in July begs the question: Has the West lost interest in the war?

·2 min read
Ukrainian military recruits take part in a weapon-handling exercise in England as they are trained by the British Army - Leon Neal
Ukrainian military recruits take part in a weapon-handling exercise in England as they are trained by the British Army - Leon Neal

Military support for Ukraine appears to be drying up after research revealed that major European governments failed to make a single new pledge to send weapons to Kyiv last month.

Since Russia’s invasion in February, the UK, France and Germany have promised to stand by Ukraine with whatever assistance it takes to win the battle.

But July became the first month since the beginning of the conflict during which there were no significant new pledges of international support by Europe’s largest economies.

The data, released by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which tracks government support for Ukraine, will compound fears in Kyiv that Western interest in the conflict is dwindling amid a mounting cost of living crisis.

The longer the conflict rumbles on, the more dependent war-ravaged Ukraine will become on a steady flow of Western weapons and financial backing.

War entering 'critical phase'

“Despite the war entering a critical phase, new aid initiatives have dried up,” Christoph Trebesch, of the Kiel Institute, said.

“In July, donor countries initiated almost no new aid, but they did deliver some of the already committed support such as weapon systems.”

The German think tank’s data showed that Europe’s top donors – the UK, Germany, Poland, France, Italy and Spain – had failed to make a contribution.

Last month financial assistance to the tune of €1.5 billion was provided by Canada and Norway, which donated two-thirds of that.

Western governments did, however, last week commit more than €1.5 billion in cash, equipment and training to boost Ukraine’s armed forces in the war against Russia.

As part of the pledging conference in Copenhagen, Britain vowed to double the number of M270 long-range rocket launchers, the Army’s most advanced missile system, being sent to Kyiv.

British soldiers stand in front of a M270 rocket launcher. The UK has vowed to double the number of such weapons being sent to Ukraine - CHRISTOF STACHE
British soldiers stand in front of a M270 rocket launcher. The UK has vowed to double the number of such weapons being sent to Ukraine - CHRISTOF STACHE

The UK remains Europe’s largest contributor to Ukraine’s military efforts, but still falls some €21 billion behind the United States.

“This assistance is a matter of life and death for us,” Andriy Yermak, President Zelensky’s chief of staff, said on Thursday.

“The only way to stop Putin is to provide Ukraine with maximum military aid and impose much tougher sanctions on Russia,” Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, added after a Russian attack on a residential area in Kharkiv.

Despite a lack of new offers of support, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy said Western governments had narrowed the gap between committed and delivered aid.

Germany in particular has been criticised for its slow weapons deliveries, with some promises taking months to fulfil.