Andrey Melnik, the Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister known for his controversial remarks, has suggested that Western countries should set aside 1 percent of their GDP for providing arms to Ukraine to assist in its ongoing conflict with Russia, according to Russia Today.
“We are thankful to our allies for their military help. But: it is not enough,” Melnik wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
Since the start of the fighting in February, the US has already supplied Kiev with arms worth over $35.4 billion, while the EU and its member states have contributed an additional $13.3 billion. However, Andrey Melnik claims that this is insufficient, and "Ukraine needs 10 times more to finish Russian aggression this year.”
“We call upon our partners to cross all artificial ‘red lines’ and devote 1% of GDP for weapons deliveries,” the Ukrainian diplomat added.
NATO requires its member states to allocate 2% of their GDP to defense spending. However, according to the bloc's annual report published in March, only seven out of 30 members were able to fulfill this target in 2022, the report continued.
After receiving assurances from the US, UK, Germany, and other nations earlier this year regarding the provision of main battle tanks, Kiev is currently urging its foreign supporters to also supply warplanes, RT.com noted further.
The deputy foreign minister expressed surprise with the words "Oh, yes?... Really?" in response to the news that Berlin is now sending 18 Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, after initially ruling out such a delivery. The minister noted that Berlin has changed its position and is now "so proud" to be sending the tanks.
Until July of last year, Melnik served as Ukraine's ambassador in Germany and gained notoriety for his controversial remarks. While in this role, he referred to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as an "offended liverwurst" due to Scholz's reluctance to visit Kiev, though he later apologized for the comment. Additionally, Melnik also told billionaire Elon Musk to "f**k off" in response to Musk's peace proposals.
During his tenure as ambassador, Melnik defended the controversial Ukrainian figure Stepan Bandera in an interview, despite accusations that Bandera collaborated with the Nazis during World War II and was involved in the mass murder of Jews and Poles. Melnik likened Bandera to the legendary outlaw Robin Hood. Despite his dismissal, Melnik was appointed as deputy foreign minister in November of last year, RT.com reported.
Meanwhile, Europol Director Catherine De Bolle has expressed concerns about the potential misuse of weapons sent by Western countries to Ukraine, warning that criminal organizations may acquire and use these weapons in the future.
De Bolle told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that at some point, the war will be over, adding: “We want to avoid a situation like the one that followed the war in the Balkans 30 years ago.”
According to De Bolle, large quantities of weapons emerged in Europe after previous conflicts and have since been used by criminal groups. She is now calling for Europe to be prepared.
“The situation is highly dynamic and fragmented and we are receiving different figures from our European partners,” De Bolle said.
Europol is taking steps to address the situation in anticipation of the end of the conflict. One of these measures involves “assembling an international task force to address the presentiment,” De Bolle said.
Moscow has repeatedly called on the West to halt the shipment of weapons to Ukraine, arguing that such efforts are prolonging the conflict and causing harm to Russia rather than helping Ukraine.