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Appeal to Prime Minister of Belgium
on urgent provision of air defence

To Mr Alexander De Croo

Prime Minister of Belgium

Rue de la Loi 16

BE-1000 Brussels

tel.: +32 2 501 02 11


We are writing to you on behalf of the NGO Promote Ukraine, based and registered in Brussels, Belgium, since 2014. First of all, we would like to sincerely thank you for your unwavering support of Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion. We are aware, in particular, that Belgium has provided €111.19 million of humanitarian aid which was used for the shipping of food and other emergency goods and providing medical assistance and education, €351.01 million of military aid, and €30.9 million for Ukraine's recovery and reconstruction activities. We also thank you for expressing your commitment to the future support of Ukraine by taking part in the joint purchases of military equipment, humanitarian aid and reconstruction of Ukraine's hardest-hit regions within the framework of the Ukraine Fund in 2024-2025 and providing the training on the F-16 aircraft to Ukrainian pilots and technicians.


On April 17, 2024, Russia hit the city of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine with missiles killing 17 Ukrainian civilians and injuring more than 60. This deadly attack was one of the numerous missile attacks Russia has committed in recent weeks. Russia has been trying to destroy Odesa, the Black Sea port city, the north-east industrial centre of Ukraine, Kharkiv, which is located 60 km away from the Russian borders, and other cities across the whole country. Meanwhile, Russia has also launched a wave of deliberate attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure that caused even more damage than during the winter of 2022-2023. On April 11, 2024, Russia completely destroyed one of the largest Ukrainian power plants, the Trypilska thermal power plant, located in the Kyiv region which supplied electricity to more than 3 million customers. On the same day, Russia launched an attack on Kharkiv, heavily damaging a thermal power plant and destroying a transformer substation, which left 200,000 residents of Kharkiv without electricity.


The results of the constant shellings of Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure are numerous casualties among civilians and the not-yet-destroyed power plans across the country which can be “counted on one hand”. Deliberate Russian shellings of the Ukrainian cities depopulate them and lay the ground for the further military advances of the Russian army. Considering delays in the delivery of military aid by Western countries, both Ukrainian and foreign experts and political actors predict the upcoming large-scale offensive by the Russian army in the late spring or early summer. 


The Ukrainian government and Zelenskyi himself have been pleading for more air defence systems to protect Ukrainian cities for the last few weeks. Despite the European capacities, it was met with hesitance by the major Western leaders which led Russian terror to spread even more. According to the HRVP, Joseph Borell, Europe has around 100 Patriots batteries and systems available. At this moment, Ukraine desperately needs 7 new air defence systems and air defence missiles to the existing ones to protect its cities and critical infrastructure from Russian daily murderous shellings.


We believe that by giving the air defence systems to Ukraine, Belgium and the whole of Europe are investing in their defence strategy since Ukraine is currently standing in the way of Russia executing potential attacks on other European countries. Denial of the Russian government of its plans to expand the war to other European countries can be highly doubted as in February 2022, Putin himself said that the countless Russian troops and the military exercises they executed at the borders with Ukraine “were purely defensive and are not a threat to any other country.”  Furthermore, the war in Ukraine is being increasingly contextualized by Kremlin officials, and particularly Putin, as “part of a long-term geopolitical confrontation between Russia and the West to justify Russia’s long-term war effort in Ukraine and future Russian aggression against other European countries.” Finally, Estonia’s Foreign Intelligence Service already presented proof that Russia is gearing up for a potential armed conflict with Western countries within the next decade by significantly increasing the units of its army and its military production, including artillery and armoured vehicles, and creating the Leningrad and Moscow military districts, which aim at Finland. 


We acknowledge that since Belgium does not have air defence systems in its military stock, the capacity of your country to support Ukraine by closing the sky might seem limited. However, we believe that the Presidency in the Council of the European Union gives Belgium a unique position to create a strong coalition of the EU countries, which would unite in providing Ukraine with crucially needed air defence systems, found within the EU borders or purchased elsewhere. The funds for such acquisition can particularly be provided by the confiscation of immobilized Russian state assets. Frozen assets can fill the gap of the lack of sustainable funding sources for military aid for Ukraine, as it was a major issue causing the delay and insufficient scope of support. By investing in closing the Ukrainian sky, you invest in protecting your own.


We, the team of Promote Ukraine, as a representative of the Ukrainian civil society in Belgium, are grateful to you, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, for reassuring Belgium's support of Ukraine in your public speech on May 12, 2023, and mentioning that “the success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive is crucial to ending the war”. As you acknowledged during your visit to Ukraine’s Parliament in Kyiv on the 24th of February 2024, European nations are not “supplying sufficient ammunition and military aircraft to assist Ukraine in countering Russian forces” and “we must accept that we have to do more, we have to do better, especially when you don’t have the necessary resources”. Therefore we send this letter to you and the whole team of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union to ask you to do what is necessary and set an example for other European nations in giving so-much-needed air defense systems to Ukraine to protect democratic and peaceful Europe.  

Best regards,

NGO Promote Ukraine

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