Foreign Affairs: Europe must seriously consider deploying troops in Ukraine

April 29,2024 271
Foreign Affairs: Europe must seriously consider deploying troops in Ukraine

European leaders should seriously consider deploying troops in Ukraine to provide logistical support, training, protection of Ukrainian borders and critical infrastructure, or even to defend Ukrainian cities. Alex Crowther, Jahara Matisek, and Phillips P. O’Brien, the leading military experts and scholars in the United States, expressed this opinion in a column for the American publication Foreign Affairs.

They must make it clear to Russia that Europe is willing to protect Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty. Accepting the dire reality of the situation in Ukraine and addressing it now is better than leaving a door open for Russia to accelerate its imperial advance,” the text reads.

The column’s authors propose several options for Europe to provide military assistance to Ukraine. “European forces could undertake either noncombat or combat operations to relieve some of the pressure on Ukraine. A strictly noncombat mission would be easiest to sell in most European capitals,” the text reads.

Possible non-combat missions include servicing and repairing combat vehicles within Ukraine, providing lethal and non-lethal training to bolster the proficiency of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and training new recruits post-mobilization. In terms of combat missions, the authors suggest reinforcing defense to the west of the Dnipro River, enhancing Ukrainian anti-aircraft capabilities, conducting demining operations and neutralizing Russian ordnance, patrolling Ukrainian border regions, and safeguarding security in Ukrainian ports. Experts emphasize that these operations would not entail direct engagement between Western forces and Russians.

Any kind of European operation in Ukraine would carry emotional weight as well. The presence of European troops would raise the morale of the Ukrainian people and reassure them that their country’s future is in Europe,” the experts write.

Europe should also consider the possibility of direct combat missions to protect Ukrainian territory west of Dnipro River. “In addition to reducing the burden of the Ukrainian military in these regions, the presence of European troops would make it unlikely that Russian forces would advance across the river, protecting much of Ukraine from conquest,” the text reads.

Moscow will try to portray any lethal response to Russian aggression as European aggression, but Russia will bear responsibility for any escalation, the authors emphasize. “There is no reason to expect Putin to stop with Ukraine. … If the United States continues to delay aid, and especially if it elects Donald Trump (who has pledged to end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours, presumably by allowing Putin to keep his ill-gotten gains) as president in November, Europe will be Ukraine’s only defender.

Read the full column at the link.

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