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Ukraine: Baerbock in Kyiv – appeal for support in air defence

Ukraine: Baerbock in Kyiv – appeal for support in air defence

Russia is increasing pressure on Ukraine with an offensive on Kharkiv. At the same time, President Putin is attacking the country’s infrastructure. The German Foreign Minister wants to send a signal.

In view of the current Russian offensive, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has urgently called for more international support for Ukraine in air defense. “In order to protect Ukraine from the Russian hail of missiles and drones, it urgently needs more air defense,” demanded the Green politician at the start of her seventh solidarity visit to Ukraine since the Russian war of aggression began in February 2022. The Foreign Minister was there that morning arrived in the capital Kiev on an unannounced visit for security reasons.

“We must now join forces so that Ukraine can survive (…) and so that Putin’s troops do not soon find themselves at our own borders,” Baerbock appealed to the international partner countries with a view to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The global initiative for more air defense that she launched together with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) raised almost a billion euros to provide additional support for the Ukrainian air defense forces. “And we are working intensively to ensure that this becomes even more.” The minister added: “We are turning over every stone several times and have moved forward with an additional patriot unit.”

Baerbock cancels his visit to Kharkiv for security reasons

Ukraine has been on the defensive for months due to a lack of weapons, ammunition and soldiers. The megacity of Kharkiv in the northeast of the country is being bombed from close range by Russia across the border. Baerbock had to cancel a planned visit to Kharkiv for security reasons because of the Russian attacks. She had already visited the city, which was heavily attacked by Russian troops at the beginning of the war, in January 2023 and wanted to find out more about the situation of the civilian population there.

Zelensky complains about the lack of speed in Western help with anti-aircraft defense

Shortly before Baerbock’s visit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj once again pointed out the urgency of anti-aircraft weapons. Ukraine most urgently needs more air defense systems and Western fighter jets, he said in his daily video address on Monday. “Unfortunately, the free world lacks speed on these two issues.” Because of its air superiority, Russia could destroy Ukrainian cities and defensive positions with glide bombs. According to him, the Russians actively used the destructive tactics on the front sections near Kharkiv and in the Donetsk region in the direction of Chasiv Yar and Pokrovsk.

In the past few days, Zelensky has asked several times for the delivery of two additional Patriot anti-aircraft systems. This means that Kharkiv, which is repeatedly attacked from the air, can be better protected. The city of over a million people in northeastern Ukraine is one of the places hardest hit by the war.

Germany has promised a third Patriot unit

According to reports, Ukraine currently has three of the powerful US-made anti-aircraft systems. Germany has provided two of these, and the federal government has promised a third Patriot unit. However, there is no information as to whether the system has already arrived in Ukraine. The third Patriot unit currently active in Ukraine comes from the USA. Washington is examining the delivery of another system. German attempts to procure Patriots from partner countries in Europe or overseas have not yet been fruitful.

Baerbock: Stand firmly on the side of Ukraine

The Federal Foreign Minister assured the people of Ukraine permanent support. Putin “speculates that at some point we will run out of air, but we have staying power,” she said. Germany, together with many other countries from all parts of the world, stands firmly on Ukraine’s side.

“The people of Ukraine can build on this in the long term.” The German government will demonstrate this in June when it invites the world to the reconstruction conference for Ukraine in Berlin. “Together with our partners in the world and a strong alliance of business, civil society and local authorities, we are investing in a long-term future insurance for Ukraine.”

Russian offensive near Kharkiv – attacks on infrastructure

The current Russian offensive in the border area near Kharkiv has threatened Ukraine in two ways since mid-May. On the one hand, the Russian advance is forcing the Ukrainian army to deploy reserves there that are lacking elsewhere on the front. According to the army command in Kyiv, the defense lines are holding. Nevertheless, the Russians have advanced about ten kilometers deep into Ukrainian territory. They could soon bring artillery forward, which could then shell Kharkiv in addition to the air strikes.

In addition to military targets, Russia primarily shelled Ukrainian coal-fired power plants in March and April. These are now almost completely switched off. Important hydroelectric power plants are also damaged. The government in Kiev estimates that more than 40 percent of electricity production capacity has failed.

“Ukraine’s EU accession is a geopolitical consequence of a war of aggression”

The Federal Foreign Minister once again called Ukraine’s accession to the EU “the necessary geopolitical consequence of Russia’s war of aggression, which violates international law.” The country has “made impressive progress and is on the path to reform despite Russia’s destructiveness.” It is now important not to let up in efforts to reform the judiciary, fight corruption and media freedom.

Source: Stern

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