German FM calls for more weapons for Ukraine

Annalena Baerbock has arrived in Kiev on an unannounced visit, promising more military aidGerman FM calls for more weapons for Ukraine

German FM calls for more weapons for Ukraine

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visits Kiev, Ukraine, on May 21, 2024. ©  Global Look Press / Thomas Trutschel

Germany’s top diplomat Annalena Baerbock called on the West to “urgently” provide more weapons to Kiev during a visit to the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday. The minister’s plea, however, wasn’t very specific on the aid measures Kiev needs, as Ukrainian troops struggle to hold back the ongoing Russian offensive.

Baerbock praised Ukraine’s “impressive resilience” as she arrived in the nation’s capital by train, and called on the Western nations to provide “more air-defense resources” to the Ukrainian military.

Germany had supposedly “led the way” in this initiative by “providing an additional Patriot unit,” Baerbock claimed. Berlin did pledge to send one more US-made air defense system to Ukraine in mid-April but it is unclear if this was indeed delivered. The latest update on military assistance published by the German government in late April still lists it as “military support… in planning.” 

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According to AP, weapons deliveries from the Western nations like Germany “have been slow” and officials in Kiev have been saying that the nation’s military were still facing “an alarming shortfall of air defenses.” 

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told Reuters on Monday that all the military assistance that Kiev’s Western backers send Ukraine’s way comes with serious delays.

“Every decision to which we, then later everyone together, come to is late by around one year,” he said, describing such an approach as “one big step forward, but, before that, two steps back.” 

Baerbock’s visit came amid the continued Russian offensive in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkov Region. Moscow launched the operation in early May in response to repeated Ukrainian strikes targeting civilian infrastructure in the Russian border regions. One such strike killed 19 people in Belgorod Region in just one day this month.

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Last Sunday, a dozen civilians were injured in another Ukrainian attack on Belgorod Region, according to local authorities. Last week, President Vladimir Putin stated that the shelling of residential areas is pushing Moscow to create a buffer zone along the border with Ukraine. “If this continues, we will be forced to create a security zone. This is what we are doing,” he said at that time.

Baerbock planned to visit the city of Kharkov on Tuesday but her trip was canceled “for security reasons,” according to AP. Russian troops have been stepping up the offensive in the area and have been steadily gaining ground to the north of the city.

Germany remains the second biggest arms donor to Kiev, behind only the US. The nation spent some €10 billion ($10.85 billion) on weapons for Ukraine between January 2022 and February 2024, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that continued arms deliveries to Ukraine only prolong the conflict but cannot change its final outcome.


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