European Defense Chief: Russia Already at War With West

Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved beyond what he initially called a “special military operation” in Ukraine and Russia is now engaged in “a war against NATO and the West,” European Union defense chief Stefano Sannino said while commenting on Canada becoming the 12th country to commit to sending tanks to Ukraine. 

“I think that this latest development in terms of armed supply is just an evolution of the situation and of the way Russia has started moving the war into a different stage,” Sannino, the secretary general of the EU’s external action service, told reporters in Tokyo Friday, reports The Daily Mail.

Sannino said Ukraine’s allies are being forced to increase their aid to Kyiv in response to Russia’s shifting focus on the war to the west.

He added that Russia, upon news of the incoming tanks, is making “indiscriminate attacks” on Ukrainian civilians and cities to gain momentum on the battlefields in eastern Ukraine. 

Canada became the latest country to pledge tanks, and Poland said it would give an additional 60 on top of the 14 it has already committed to the war effort.

Spain and Norway are expected to announce how many Leopard 2s they will send to Ukraine in the coming days.

Belgium announced a new package of military aid, including cash, missiles, machine guns, and armored vehicles but said it doesn’t have major battle tanks to match NATO allies’ offers. 

Ukraine is also calling for fighter jets such as the U.S. F-16, but fulfilling the request seems unlikely. 

Since Wednesday, Moscow’s forces have tried to break through the Ukrainian front lines in Dombas and have increased their bomb attacks on Ukraine’s cities. Out of 59 missiles, 47 were intercepted, but 11 people were reported killed. Russia has also launched 37 airstrikes. 

Meanwhile, Russia has accused President Joe Biden of “pumping weapons” into Ukraine rather than working toward a cease-fire. 

The promised delivery of tanks to Ukraine is evidence of the “direct involvement” of the United States and Europe in the war.

“There are constant statements from European capitals and Washington, D.C., that the sending of various weapons systems to Ukraine, including tanks, in no way signifies the involvement of these countries or the [NATO] alliance in hostilities in Ukraine,” Peskov said. “We categorically disagree with this, and in Moscow, everything [they’re doing] is seen as direct involvement. We see that this is growing.”

North Korea has also condemned the United States for supplying Ukraine with tanks, accusing Washington of escalating a “proxy war.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, meanwhile, called on the West to pursue peace talks rather than arming Ukraine. 

“It started with the Germans saying they were willing to send helmets but they would not send lethal aid, since that represented participation in the conflict,” Orban said. 

He added that as long as he is prime minister, it is “out of the question” that Hungary will get more involved in the Ukraine war. 

“But the others have already been swept away,” he said. “If you send weapons, no matter what you say, you are in the war.”

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