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1 Apr, 2023 20:12

German defense minister warns of ‘worst case’ US election scenario

Washington could ‘distance itself’ from Europe and the Ukraine conflict after the 2024 election, Boris Pistorius has said
German defense minister warns of ‘worst case’ US election scenario

European NATO members may face difficulties in supporting Kiev in its conflict with Russia after the 2024 US election, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has warned. Washington’s aid to Ukraine is likely to be reduced regardless of the results, he told Welt am Sonntag in an interview published on Saturday.

The US will have to pay more attention to the Indo-Pacific region after 2024, even if a “pro-European” president wins the election, Pistorius said, while a worst case scenario could spell doom for the West’s support for Kiev, he warned.

“Should the worst case [scenario] come to life and an American president, who has distanced himself from Europe and NATO, move into the White House, we will have challenges that are currently unimaginable,” Pistorius said. Europe will then have to “compensate” for reduced American commitment to the defense of the military bloc “on top of what we are already doing today,” he added.

Pistorius also said that Germany’s own defense issues will not be resolved by that time. The supply and funding problems that the German Army has faced for years are unlikely to be resolved before 2030, the minister noted. He also said that the army’s stocks are limited, and declined to pledge more German-made tanks to Ukraine.

The minister did not say which presidential candidate he had in mind regarding the worst-case scenario. Several prominent potential Republican candidates, including former President Donald Trump, have cast doubt on the idea of continuing American support for Ukraine, sparking concerns in Kiev.

In March, Trump said that if he is re-elected, Kiev should expect that “there will be little more money coming from us.” Another potential candidate, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, described the conflict as a “territorial dispute” in which the US has no interests in being more actively involved.

US President Joe Biden, whose administration secured $112 billion in Ukraine-related funding from Congress last year, has been criticized by some Republicans for what they call his "blank check" for Kiev.

In late March, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told AP that he was worried about the potentially dwindling US support, saying, “if they stop helping us, we will not win.”