German Arms Support for Ukraine: Annalena Baerbock Promises Aid | Latest Updates

2024-02-24 18:24:36

During her visit to Ukraine on the second anniversary of the Russian invasion, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) promised the country further German arms aid. “We support you every day, including with arms deliveries,” said Baerbock on Saturday evening at a press conference with her Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba in the port city of Odessa. However, the minister acknowledged difficulties in procuring the necessary weapons: “Of course, everything we are supplying is not enough,” she said. What is needed is “much more ammunition, much more air defense, much more artillery,” added Baerbock.

Baerbock did not explicitly address the Ukrainian request to supply German Taurus cruise missiles. She simply said: “We are racking our brains as to how we could get more of this, including long-range weapon systems.” The federal government has so far rejected Taurus deliveries; She fears that Ukraine could use the massive weapons system to attack targets deep within Russian territory.

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Kuleba thanked Germany and Western supporters for the arms support – but at the same time called for an expansion of deliveries. “I want to say honestly that the way to end the war is to increase military aid,” he said. If after the Russian invasion “all decisions to support Ukraine in terms of arms supplies had been implemented quickly,” then Ukraine would have been able to recapture more occupied territory, Kuleba criticized.

Kuleba expressly acknowledged the support from Germany. “German weapons save the lives of Ukrainians,” he said. Germany and Ukraine have “become strategic allies” and there is “systematic and constant support” from Germany. “This is the end of the Ostpolitik, the rapprochement with Russia,” Kuleba added. “Germany has understood that the reliable ally in the East is not Russia, but Ukraine.”

“Withdraw your troops. End this war”

Baerbock had previously accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of a desire for conquest and a lack of willingness to make peace. “As shocking as it is: Putin doesn’t want negotiations. He doesn’t want peace – he wants ‘conquests’. He says that himself,” wrote Baerbock in a guest article for the “Bild” newspaper on Saturday.

Baerbock urged Putin to end the war: “Release the Ukrainian children. Withdraw your troops. End this war. Then tomorrow there would be peace. And the whole world could finally breathe a sigh of relief again.”

The Foreign Minister sharply rejected criticism of arms deliveries to Ukraine. Anyone who claims that arms deliveries prolong the war is “playing into Putin’s hands.” The Foreign Minister emphasized that Ukraine had already negotiated with Russia in Istanbul in March 2022 and was prepared to make concessions. The basis for this was that Russia was withdrawing its troops. “But instead of retreating, Butscha came”: “People who were shot in front of their houses with their hands bandaged. Raped women.”

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Ukrainian units in the contested Donets Oblast

The minister traveled together in a German Air Force aircraft from the United Nations in New York to the Republic of Moldova and from there traveled overland in a convoy of armored vehicles to Odessa.

UN special sessions on Ukraine

Annalena Baerbock in New York at the United Nations

Source: dpa/Bernd von Jutrczenka

Baerbock spoke of an “emotional moment” when entering the Moldovan-Ukrainian Palanca border crossing. “We are now taking a step into a country of war,” she added. The EU and Ukraine have followed “a common European path” in the two years since the Russian invasion, Baerbock continued – with the aim of admitting the country into the European Union.

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A graffiti in Kiev shows a soldier who rescued people and animals from the rubble of a house in Donetsk and died in the process

Baerbock’s visit was initially kept secret for security reasons. It is their fifth trip to Ukraine since the Russian attack – and the first to Odessa. It was only the day before Baerbock’s visit that Odessa again became the target of Russian drone and missile attacks. According to police reports, the bullets hit civilian buildings and resulted in deaths and injuries.

By Ukraine’s side “as long as you need us”

Im Online service X, formerly TwitterBaerbock also declared on Saturday morning that Germany would not allow “Putin to rob Ukraine of its homeland and freedom.” Germany stands by Ukraine “as long as you need us. Until you can shape your future in peace again.”

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Economist Natalja Subarewitsch

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) reiterated his continued support for Ukraine in its self-defense. “And for as long as necessary,” he said in the current issue of the video format “Kanzler Kompakt”, which was to be published on Saturday morning. He focused on increasing German defense spending to strengthen the Bundeswehr.

Scholz accused Russia of not only attacking Ukraine, but also destroying Europe’s peace order. “That you don’t change borders by force – this hard-negotiated principle – Moscow tramples on it every day,” he said.

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According to the speech manuscript, the Chancellor also admitted that the “Bundeswehr had been neglected for many years.” “Since the turn of the century this has stopped,” he said. Germany and Europe “are doing more – and must do more – so that we can defend ourselves effectively.” This year, Germany is investing two percent of its economic output in defense for the first time in decades. “And it will remain that way in the coming years and decades,” said the Chancellor.

On the Platform X Scholz also explained that Ukraine would survive “because it is strong and courageous and because it has friends in Europe and all over the world.”

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