In recent weeks and months, many European countries and the European Union have stepped up in creative ways to support Ukraine’s defense and counter Russia’s war of aggression. French president Emmanuel Macron refused to rule out sending French troops to Ukraine’s aid—a turn toward strategic ambiguity that threw the Kremlin off balance. Czechia’s president Petr Pavel began an initiative to quickly and efficiently source hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition from around the world to send straight to Ukraine’s frontlines, which has now been endorsed by the EU’s twenty-seven leaders. Germany has embraced a so-called “Zeitenwende” to refurbish its defense capabilities to arm Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the European Union won consensus in February on a landmark €50 billion aid package for Ukraine and new NATO allies Sweden and Finland have provided a much-needed jolt to Europe’s overall defense industrial base. European countries’ efforts are backed up by a consensus across European populaces that Ukraine’s defense is Europe’s defense, and Russia poses an existential threat to the continent.

Even so, Europe still has a long way to go. Countries like Germany continue a much more cautious approach than their neighbors and European peers. Others play spoiler to European initiatives to the detriment of Ukraine—and Europe.

The more energetic picture in Europe contrasts sharply with the situation in the United States, where Congress is only beginning to untie itself from the gridlock that has frozen $60 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. What can Europe’s support teach the US Congress and the White House about how to deal with the continued threat of Kremlin aggression?


Debra Cagan
Senior Advisor, Eurasia Center
Atlantic Council

Benjamin Haddad
Member of the National Assembly of France

Jan Havránek
Deputy Chief of Mission
Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, DC

Ambassador John Herbst
Senior Director, Eurasia Center
Atlantic Council


issue spotlight

The Eurasia Center’s mission is to promote policies that strengthen stability, democratic values, and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe in the West to the Caucasus, Russia, and Central Asia in the East.

The Europe Center promotes leadership, strategies and analysis to ensure a strong, ambitious and forward-looking transatlantic relationship.

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