“Belgium is one of the main sponsors of Russia’s war”

Roger Housen, a former colonel in the Belgian army, has accused Belgium of being one of the main sponsors of Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine. Looking at the figures he says the aid Belgium has provided falls far short of that of its allies and notes volumes of Belgian imports from Russia have either remained unchanged or have shot up.

Speaking with Gazet van Antwerpen earlier Housen said the Belgian government’s efforts were pretty poor: “We are like a beggar, who in the winter offers his worn out boots to a passer-by who is equally poor and really needs a warm coat”.

That more or less is what Housen believes Belgium is doing to help Ukraine.

Speaking with VRT Housen said his analysis was realistic.  Pointing to the figures he noted that till the end of December Belgium’s military, financial and humanitarian support amounted to 0.045% of national output.

“Neighbouring countries with comparable economies like the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, etc, are doing at least ten times more. The government says it’s doing everything to ensure Ukraine will win the war, that we will help Ukraine to make the difference, that Ukraine is fighting for our freedom and our democratic values but when you look at the figures and the quality of the equipment we are supplying, there is only one conclusion: it’s pretty meagre”.

“Belgium is hypocritical if you consider the attitude and the wo.rds that are not matched by deeds.  I’m not attacking the Belgian armed forces.  If the cupboard is already bare… The arsenals of the Belgian armed forces have been empty for years.  Political declarations are made.  An image is hung up of Belgium doing its utmost for Ukraine, but if you look at the reality it is very meagre”.

Partly as a result of rising prices the value of Belgian trade with Ukraine has shot up since the further invasion last February.

“During the period from the end of February to the end of September the value of goods and services imported from Russia rose by 130% compared with the comparable period the previous year.  It’s mainly the result of higher energy prices, gas and oil, but look at metals and raw materials for pharmaceuticals and you see volumes that are unchanged. From January to the end of September Flanders imported 3 billion euros extra compared to the same period in 2021.  I draw the conclusion that taking account of the proportions of our country we are one of the main sponsors of Russia’s war. It’s a sharp analysis but the figures are there”.

“In parliament they say we are at war with Russia, I’d add this is no trade war!”

AFP or licensors

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