Are the warnings from European allies those of a 21st century Cassandra?

February 9, 2024

** Cassandra – Daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy.  She accurately predicted the future but was not believed.

In the past, I have made numerous references to European concerns about Washington’s commitment to Ukraine and the need to give Ukraine what it needs to defeat Putin.

Just yesterday, I sent a FOUN blast featuring an op-ed by Germany’s Chancellor.

Yesterday, there also was a press conference at the Estonian Embassy where officials from numerous European countries – all US allies – voiced public concern about where Washington is at this most critical point in our collective war for freedom and security being by the people of Ukraine on Ukraine’s soil.

Since I saw little to no significant coverage of that press conference, I set out below three articles published about what was said.

There may be some movement, at least in the Senate, but it is time for all of the ostriches in Washington to pick up their heads and open their eyes to the imminent threat we face with our European allies.


Baltic, Nordic lawmakers complain that US lacks urgency on Ukraine aid

By Jonathan Landay

February 8, 2024, 8:27 PM EST

WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Senior Nordic and Baltic lawmakers visiting Washington on Thursday expressed alarm at what they called a lack of urgency and a clear strategy by the United States to help Ukraine defeat Moscow's invasion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will move to take more European territory if he wins in Ukraine, raising the danger of a conflict with the U.S.-led NATO alliance that would carry immense human and economic costs, the lawmakers said.

"Guys, wake up," Zygimantis Pavilionis, chairman of the Lithuanian parliament's foreign affairs committee, said in comments directed at Democrats and Republicans. "Are you ready to defeat enemy No. 1 that is acting like the Hitler of today?"

The bleak assessment of how Washington is dealing with the threat posed by Europe's biggest conflict since World War II underscored growing concerns across the Atlantic that U.S. domestic political feuds are undercutting support for Ukraine.

The parliamentary foreign affairs committee chairs from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Norway spoke at the end of a two-day visit to press for new U.S. aid as Ukraine struggles with ammunition shortages and Russian assaults. All but Sweden are NATO members.

A U.S congressional battle over immigration is stalling $61 billion in new military assistance.

Delegation members said they met administration officials and lawmakers, but mainly sought to speak to Republicans resisting fresh aid. Only one sceptical Republican House of Representatives member agreed to see them, they said.


Foreign Policy

European Lawmakers Issue Dire Warnings Over Stalled Ukraine Aid Package

“If you don’t want another Pearl Harbor, you better listen to us,” cautioned one Lithuanian politician.

By Amy Mackinnon

February 8, 2024, 3:17 PM

European lawmakers are issuing increasingly bleak warnings about the future of the war in Ukraine and the continent’s security as a $60 billion U.S. aid package for Kyiv continues to languish on Capitol Hill and the war is set to enter its third year later this month.

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, Washington has welcomed a steady stream of lawmakers, government ministers, and heads of state from Europe amid transatlantic efforts to coordinate military and humanitarian support for Ukraine. But there has been a palpable ratcheting up in the intensity and urgency of their message.

“You can’t help but wonder what has happened here. We seem to have drifted apart,” said Diljá Mist Einarsdóttir, chair of the Icelandic parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

Einarsdóttir and a delegation of six other chairs of the parliamentary foreign affairs committees of the Baltic and Nordic states spoke with a small group of journalists on Thursday morning as the U.S. Senate voted to advance a stand-alone aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. It remains unclear whether the bill will be able to garner enough votes to pass the Senate and House.

A bipartisan effort to combine the aid with an immigration reform package was shot down by Senate Republicans on Wednesday evening after former U.S. President Donald Trump urged his party to reject the legislation.

“Dear Republican Senators of America,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, following the vote. “Ronald Reagan, who helped millions of us to win back our freedom and independence, must be turning in his grave today. Shame on you.”

Dire warnings from European lawmakers come as Ukraine has stalled on the battlefield and Russia is making significant investments in defense spending and production. In the early days of the war, Moscow appeared to be on the back foot as its economy was pummeled with international sanctions and its armed forces struggled through a poorly planned invasion.

But two years on, the Russian economy is projected to grow, albeit marginally, in the coming year fueled by a significant boost in defense spending. One-third of the country’s state budget has been allocated for defense in 2024, and arms manufacturers have been urged to work around the clock.

“If we cannot manage, together with the U.S., to stop Russia in Ukraine, it’s a matter of time if it is a war against NATO in general, and that will be much higher cost,” said Aron Emilsson, chair of the Swedish parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

Emilsson’s Latvian counterpart, Rihards Kols, said he was struck by the lack of urgency in Washington about the war. “I got the notion that the war in Ukraine is something very far away, distant from the U.S.,” said Kols, who noted that by comparison, Latvian public discourse had been dominated by the possibility of a wider war.

Last month, top military officials in Sweden and the United Kingdom warned their populations to prepare for a potential war.



European lawmakers leave Washington concerned about state of US support for Ukraine

By Jennifer Hansler, CNN

Updated 5:24 PM EST, Thu February 8, 2024CNN —

Top lawmakers from Estonia, Iceland, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden left meetings in Washington Thursday concerned and frustrated about a lack of urgency from their American colleagues about the need to support Ukraine.

The Nordic-Baltic delegation, comprised of the chairs of each of the country’s parliamentary foreign affairs committees, has traveled to the US capital on numerous occasions to meet with US lawmakers in both the House and Senate to rally for Ukraine as Russia’s full-scale invasion rages on.

“We came here, obviously, to show unity, to show our commitment and hoping that the Americans would hear us,” Diljá Mist Einarsdóttir of Iceland told reporters at a roundtable Thursday morning.

“We are leaving America a little bit sad,” she said.

The issue of US assistance to Kyiv – which received widespread congressional approval at the outset of the war  – has faced growing Republican opposition. Congress has yet to pass legislation for additional funding to Ukraine after last year’s funding was expended.

A Senate bill that tied Ukraine funding to border security measures was blocked on Wednesday. Following that failure, the Senate voted on Thursday afternoon to begin debate on a security spending package with aid to Ukraine.

The European lawmakers, who were in Washington when the vote on the border and funding bill failed, said they are concerned that their US counterparts do not recognize the imperative for Ukraine to quickly receive continued US military support.

Rihards Kols of Latvia noted that “there wasn’t a sense of urgency of what is happening.”

“I got the notion that the war in Ukraine is something very far away, distant from the US,” he said.

“We are so united as never before in Europe, and then you have this phenomenon of isolationism growing with every week in America. This is so strange,” echoed Žygimantas Pavilionis of Lithuania.

They acknowledged that the influence of former President Donald Trump and US domestic election considerations were likely playing a role.

Estonian foreign affairs committee chairman Marko Mihkelson said that many of the lawmakers with whom he met “actually sincerely support Ukraine.”

“Many of them would like to see this bill passed as soon as possible. But they are very much afraid of results of their own elections in November,” he said.

“What was striking was that they are not ready to go and make a case in their own constituencies about that,” Mihkelson said. He and others in the delegation said it felt as though the lawmakers wanted them to “do their job” in making the case for Ukraine funding.

Einarsdóttir suggested that US lawmakers must be willing to act now, rather than considering the political future.

“Donald Trump is not president of the United States,” she said. “The people we are disappointed with they are actual people that hold actual powers.”

“Of course, he’s a very influential person. But at the end of the day, we believe that some very powerful, powerful people, currently powerful people that are holding actual powers and the United States, should do more,” she said.

The lawmakers worry about what message the continued lack of funding – and therefore lack of weaponry – is sending to Russia – a concern that has also been voiced by the Biden administration.

“There’s a seriousness behind the fact that we are here now,” Ine Eriksen Søreide of Norway said.

“Of course, we are concerned about US support for Ukraine. And I say that with quite a lot of solemnity because we are at a place right now where Europe, even though we are giving our fair share, and then some to Ukraine, both when it comes to weapons systems and money, we are not able to fill the gap if the US pulls out,” she said.

The lawmakers rejected criticism that Europe was not doing enough to contribute to Ukraine.

“When some Republican congressmen and senators are saying you have to do more –We’re giving everything we have. So we cannot actually do that much more,” Michael Aastrup Jensen of Denmark said.


ROBERT MCCONNELL, Co-Founder, U.S.-Ukraine Foundation
Director of External Affairs, Friends of Ukraine Network
The introduction is Mr. McConnell’s and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and/or the Friends of Ukraine Network.

** Cassandra – Daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy.  She accurately predicted the future but was not believed.