EU Parliament Refuses Decision On Budget Until Ukraine Gets More Patriots From Member States

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Apr 12, 2024 - 09:45 AM

The latest intense Russian bombardment of Ukraine has resulted in the European Parliament taking the unprecedented decision to delay approval of the council budget until EU leaders get fully on board with approving additional Patriot air defense systems for Ukraine. 

"What I find scandalous is that Europe, which is opening the door for Ukraine, and the European Council are not even capable in such an urgency to decide to send a number of anti-missile systems to Ukraine," Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian Prime Minister, said in a fiery speech from the parliament floor.

Image: Ukraine Foreign Ministry

The decision to refuse discharge of the EU Council's budget was supported by 515 MEPs, with 62 voting against it—however, the effort will ultimately prove little more than symbolic and as but theatrics. European countries are still first and foremost worried about their dwindling defense stockpiles at home, especially as the specter of possible future major NATO-Russia war rises.

Russia's overnight missile attacks, which reportedly included hypersonic missiles and drones sent against a number of power plants and natural gas facilities, resulted in a new urgent plea from President Volodymyr Zelensky, who post on X: "We need air defense systems and other defense assistance, not just turning a blind eye and having lengthy discussions." 

Russia's President Putin on Thursday told national news agencies that Russia is obliged to strike Ukrainian energy sites in response to Kiev's ongoing cross-border attacks against Russia's own energy infrastructure. He also said these strikes on Ukraine's energy sites aim to "demilitarize" the country.

MEP Verhofstadt's appeal was met with applause in the European parliament session:

Verhofstadt reminded that the EU's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, told the MEPs that EU states have 100 Patriot air defense systems, while Ukraine asks for seven of them.

"We, Europeans, we invite them to come to the European Union, but we are not capable to do so," Verhofstadt added.

The MEP proposed to withdraw the discharge of the EU Council's budget from the agenda until a decision is taken to provide Ukraine with seven air defense systems.

Meanwhile, here's how a fresh Washington Post interview began:

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wants the West’s extra, idle Patriot air defense batteries. And he’s not asking nicely anymore.

"Nice and quiet diplomacy didn’t work," Kuleba, Kyiv’s top diplomat, told The Washington Post in an interview this week.

Below: Thursday's scene inside European parliament...

He told the newspaper that ultimately the country would need 26 Patriot batteries to secure the airspace over the whole country, but that an initial seven would go a long way in meeting the most pressing needs.

"I'm sorry to spoil the birthday party, but who can believe that the mightiest military alliance in the world cannot find seven batteries of Patriots to provide them to the only country in the world that is fighting ballistic attacks every day?" he questioned provocatively.