Ukrainian deputies have requested the Belgian Federal Parliament to supply their country with more weapons to fight against Russia’s invasion. “More weapons can bring us peace. This may sound contradictory, but it is the reality,” MP Oleksandr Kornyenko told the House of Foreign Relations and Defence Committees on Tuesday.
The request found particular support from the opposition, notably Theo Francken of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) party, who initiated the trip of the Ukrainian politicians to Belgium, as well as within the parliamentary majority with deputy Denis Ducarme of the MR (Mouvement Réformateur) party.
The French-speaking liberal believes that Belgium is not doing enough to support Ukraine militarily. Belgium’s Defence Ministry has already delivered over €90 million worth of military equipment and will soon prepare to supply Ukraine with anti-tank and anti-aircraft defence platforms.
Nevertheless, Belgium still possesses large stockpiles of weapons held by private companies, in particular armoured vehicles, which the Ukrainians need to field against Russian forces.
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Recently, M109 howitzers, withdrawn from service by Belgium in 2008 and resold at a cut-price a few years later, found their way onto the battlefield in Ukraine through the United Kingdom. The Belgian government was reluctant to repurchase these self-propelled guns for hundreds of thousands of euros, seeing as they had sold them to the UK for just €16,000 in 2015-2016.
“In Hangers near Antwerp and Tournai, there are Leopard tanks, Cheetahs, M113s, M109s, AIMVs… These are armoured vehicles that would be particularly useful. Compared to the amounts we already spent, the supply of, for example, 10 armoured vehicles would not represent a huge sum. But I sense a lack of will to go beyond the minimum. I ask that this perspective be analysed by the Minister,” said Ducarme.