German Economy Minister Arrives in Kyiv on Surprise Visit

Thu Apr 18 2024
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FRANKFURT: German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck arrived in Kyiv in a surprise visit on Thursday to discuss post-war reconstruction and express support after Russian strikes on key Ukrainian infrastructure.

Habeck told reporters in the Ukrainian capital that this visit comes at a time when Kyiv needs all the support it can get in its fight for freedom. It is a fight for freedom, that is the significant thing that the world, Germany, and Europe must not forget, he said, adding that Kyiv was fighting for the values that define Europe.

Berlin at the weekend announced it was providing an additional Patriot air defence system to Kyiv after pleas from Ukraine for its Western allies to urgently help foil Russian attacks, AFP reported.

Kyiv has said it is running out of weaponry to counter Moscow’s missiles and drones as Russia ramps up attacks on energy infrastructure.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday urged fellow EU leaders to follow Berlin’s lead and provide more air defence systems to Kyiv.

Germany’s Support for Ukraine

In an interview with Focus magazine, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said the German military was doing a lot to provide weapons to Kyiv, giving the example of the extra Patriot system.

He defended Scholz over his refusal to provide Ukraine long-range Taurus missiles — which Berlin fears could strike deep inside Russia — saying that the chancellor has launched enormous support for Ukraine.

He said that one thing is certain Germany is the world’s second-largest supporter of Ukraine, the largest in Europe, and by a clear margin.

Habeck, who was accompanied by a business delegation in Ukraine, will hold a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

He will also meet with Ukrainian officials to discuss emergency assistance and business relations as well as preparations for the annual Ukraine Recovery Conference to be organized in Berlin in June, the German economy ministry said.

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