Olivier Dupuis: Belgium-Ukraine: The Carriage Is Waiting

2022-11-28 | Weapon delivery, Political initiatives

New Zealander Peeni Henare has just travelled 17,000 kilometres. He made the journey from Wellington to Kyiv where he met his Ukrainian counterpart, Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov. As the Belgian singer-songwriter Julos Beaucarne once had it, “the couriers await”. And they are still waiting. They have been waiting for more than 270 days. Ludivine Dedonder, Henare’s and Reznikov’s Belgian counterpart, has still not managed the 2000 kilometres between Brussels and the Ukrainian capital.

This might seem like a minor issue, but it is a revealing indicator of Belgian policy towards Ukraine. Ambivalent and ambiguous. For the minister Dedonder, “we must continue to support Ukraine” but we must not “deprive our personnel of the equipment they need” 1. It is a strange argument.

Belgium could draw on its large stocks of decommissioned equipment – or equipment in the process of being decommissioned – that is needed by Ukraine. This is the case for hundreds of troop-transport trucks that are awaiting replacement. Clearly the Belgian army does not see it this way. Colonel Tom Laermans, director of the army’s sales department, is unperturbed, and continues to sell off decommissioned equipment in small tranches

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