Western countries should strengthen defense as the conflict in Ukraine continues, Prime Minister Sanna Marin has suggested
Western European countries would be in a dangerous place now if it weren’t for the role the US is playing in the Ukraine conflict, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin claimed on Friday. She also urged Helsinki’s partners to step up efforts to build up defense capabilities.
The Finnish Prime Minister spoke during a visit to Australia that Western Europe is not well suited to deal with the current crisis alone. “I’ll be brutally honest with you, Europe [sic] is not strong enough. We would be in trouble without the US on board [itself] in Ukraine’s war,” she said, pointing to the enormous help Washington has given Kyiv.
Her comments appeared to be about the containment of Russia, which is the continent’s largest country. EU leaders often use Europe to refer to the bloc, despite the fact that a number of major European states such as Russia, the UK, Ukraine, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and Belarus are not members.
According to Marin, the NATO-affiliated European states should strengthen their capabilities: “We need to make sure that we also build these capabilities when it comes to European [sic] defense and the European defense industry.”
She also noted that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine had changed Helsinki’s political calculus “overnight”. In May, Finland and its Nordic neighbor Sweden submitted applications to join NATO. Although the bloc complied with this request, the two countries’ bids have yet to be ratified by all of its 30 members.
The US-led alliance has repeatedly said that, while it supports Ukraine militarily, it is not a party to the conflict. On Thursday, however, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Washington and NATO of directly participating in the conflict.
He added that Moscow does not need the kind of security architecture that Western countries are trying to build without Russia and Belarus. “European security is now about being completely subservient to the United States,” Lavrov added.
The minister went on to remind that, while France and Germany have in recent years sought independence from US military protection, the US is determined to make NATO indispensable and wants to pit other European nations against Russia.