Stavros Lambrinidis: «This is an existential battle for us»

The E.U. ambassador in Washington commented on assistance for Ukraine and potential threat of China.

Stavros Lambrinidis, the E.U. ambassador in Washington, in an interview the day after the midterm elections in the United States, told he had “no doubt that there would be continuity” in U.S. aid to Ukraine no matter the political dispensation of the next Congress.

His conversations on the Hill have given him the impression of “unwavering bipartisan support for Ukraine even in circumstances where people in this country talk about polarization on virtually every other topic.”

“This is an existential battle for us,” Lambrinidis said, adding that Europe is committed to Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”

Lambrinidis is aware of the necessity of this foreign support. Absent the aid, “the chances that Putin will prevail are extremely high,” he said. That’s not an outcome U.S. or European officials are willing to countenance.

The E.U. ambassador cast the war and Putin’s brinkmanship over Ukraine as a challenge that had to be met. “This is an explicit effort by an extremely dangerous autocrat with nuclear weapons to blackmail democracies,” Lambrinidis said. “And if he were to succeed, for decades to come, Americans and Europeans’ capacity and presence in the world would be dramatically diminished.”

That’s because the precedent of “a victorious Putin” — who is, in Lambrinidis’s view, “China’s junior partner” — will lead to “an emboldened China in the next decades,” he said, and provoke potential clashes and conflagrations that could put the upheaval generated by the war in Ukraine in the shade.

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