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Ukraine's expert raises concerns over US defense capability in Europe

Jens Stoltenberg
Jens Stoltenberg

Defense Express expert Ivan Kyrychevskyi discussed NATO's challenges and the inability of the U.S. to defend Europe in an interview with NV Radio on March 17.

"All these stories of Russophilia, when there were 'special relations' with Russia, when [French President] Macron (who would have thought, especially now) was taking notes on something with [Russian dictator Vladimir] Putin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, or when Germany relied on some special relations, that was precisely the understanding that the U.S. wouldn't defend them," said Kyrychevskyi.

The Defense Express expert emphasized that "the problem of the so-called Schengen within NATO has not yet been resolved."

"When, roughly speaking, the logic is that in theory, if a major war starts on the European continent with Russia, then the forward forces of Poland, [the Baltics] would have to hold back Russia, and American reinforcements would have to land in France and the Netherlands," he said.

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"But if the problem of expanding transport routes has not been solved since 2021... Moreover, the problem that the troops from one country should pass to another without customs control has not even been solved... We thought that the NATO Alliance was such a unified collective force that, once it struck, it would crush the enemies almost immediately. No," Kyrychevsky said.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump warned the European Union that America would not come to its aid if Europe suffered a military attack, Politico reported, citing French Euro Commissioner Thierry Breton, in January 2024. Trump said this to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen in 2020.

During a speech in South Carolina on Feb. 10, Trump suggested he would "encourage" Russia to act against any NATO allies perceived as not fulfilling their financial obligations. Trump recounted a hypothetical conversation where he responded negatively to a country's request for protection against Russian aggression due to payment delinquencies.

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The Biden administration condemned Trump's comments through White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates, describing them as "appalling and unhinged." Bates argued that Trump's stance threatens American national security, global peace, and the domestic economy by encouraging aggression from hostile regimes toward allied nations.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg responded to Trump's statement, stressing that it weakens the collective security foundation NATO stands on.

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Trump said on March 19 that the United States would not leave NATO as long as Europe pays its share.

The U.S. Congress passed a law in December 2023 stipulating that U.S. presidents cannot unilaterally decide to withdraw the country from NATO.

Presidential elections will occur in the United States in November 2024. The incumbent President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will likely compete for the presidency. The latter became the sole candidate from the Republican Party after the primaries.

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