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Securing Ukraine - Securing Europe: the future of EU military assistance.
Solidarity and Euro-Atlantic Security with Ukraine

Organized by Eastern Circles, Maison de l’Europe and Royal United Services Institute, Ukrainian Prism, and Ukraine Center for Defense Strategies at Maison de l'Europe in Paris

Discussion focus: European military production and future defense support of Ukraine in the light of the latest announcement by President Macron and of bilateral security guarantees to Ukraine by several EU Member States.

Expert speakers: Hanna Shelest (Ukrainian Prism), Victoria Vdovychenko (Center for Defense Strategies, Ukraine), Eugènia Hernàndez Sànchez (Intelligence Analysis Center, Spain), Andrea Margelletti (CeSI - Centro Studi Internazionali, Italy), Borja Lasheras (Center for European Policy Analysis, Brussels), Michael Benhamou (OPEWI, Brussels), and Alexandre Escorcia (Ministry of the Armies, France).

Moderators: Anastasiya Shapochkina (Eastern Circles, France) and Neil Melvil (RUSI, UK).

Hosts: Ursula Serafin and Michel Derdevet (Maison de l’Europe in Paris).

Panel 1:

Ukraine will not hold at this rhythm of attrition. The counteroffensive did not work not because of the US strategy, but because the ammunition and weapons needed were not delivered on time. If Russia remains unabated over the last 2 years, it will win. No matter the public opinion, letting Russia unchecked undermines French national interest.

Ukraine is using asymmetric warfare: targeting Russian military infrastructure, logistics, military production, and strikes against the Russian navy. Drone army is a game changer, giving a possibility to hold Russian forces, and the war is turning into a battle of technologies. Swarms of drones, better and more precise-range missiles, air defense, and electronic airfare define the military advantage. The diversity of drones also gives an advantage over Russian radio-electronic systems.

The security agreement with NATO countries should not be a replacement for NATO membership for UA. Ukraine wants to become a partner in European security, a contributor to, not a simple recipient of security guarantees: through intelligence, people/experience exchange, joint production of weapons, and testing interoperability.

Russia is now spending 8% of its GDP on the war. The EU remains at 1.6% on average. Ukraine needs to stand at $40 billion a year. Half of that was given by the US. Now that the US are holding off money, the EU has to come up with an additional 20 billion euros a year. Most of that money stays in Europe and is spent on European companies.

France has a choice to negotiate with Russia or to fight. But the moment you send the troops in, there is no way for them to stay in the background. Far right and far left parties will challenge the European resolve with a short-term logic that Russia is a threat, but we can negotiate. We need to show that in the long-term this thinking is catastrophic. Russian military capabilities depend on the implementation of sanctions, which remains ineffective.

Panel 2:

Countering Russia is a question of capabilities. On the EU political level, this would mean a higher commander on defense, while maintaining a full commitment to NATO. On the military level, to be most effective, the use of NATO military equipment has to be aligned with the NATO military doctrine.

The EU keeps thinking and acting, as it was during the peacetime. But, as we are entering the era of high military alert for the continent, Europe needs to develop a defense economy of scale. To increase military assistance to UA it is not necessary to pass by the complicated NATO bureaucracy. Instead any EU country can provide the ornaments it got in its warehouses to Ukraine and use other creative solutions like the Czech government did.

In France, Macron committed to grow military production. While on the EU level the creation of UA, assistance fund within the European peace facility is designed to increase the predict ability for Ukrainian military assistance starting this year and to expand European defense technology base. The French initiative was prepared with banks and the military industry, including military-to-military exchanges among European states. The question is how to do more, and how to do better.

Cyber, cognitive, information, wars, and hybrid domains are becoming part of our military doctrine. The weakness of EU countries is the difference in perception of the military threat. Thus for Finland, the war in Ukraine is real, but for Portugal or Greece, it may look like a distant crisis. Europe needs to change the minds and expectations of its citizens, so they understand why they need to supply UA.

Europe needs to sustain the show of force, and bring the global south on board while debunking the Russian narrative. Russia is a battlefield of disinformation in Africa and a potential empowering factor for regional powers like Morocco.

Incentives should be created to allow to link EU and UA defense base. The need to action in three areas is important: first Ukraine joining NATO would mean strategic defeat for Russia. Second, we need to continue the practical support of Ukraine. Third NATO should use it abilities for the rapprochement between NATO and Ukraine's armed forces, increasing their interoperability. Ukraine is about helping defend Europe against Russian aggression. The links with UA should be reinforced at all levels by EU allies, including France.