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Baerbock says G7 working to strengthen Ukrainian air defense

December 22, 2022

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also slammed the Taliban's move to exclude women from universities as a "step towards the Stone Age."

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock shakes hands with Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in Berlin in front of Danish and EU flags
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and her Danish counterpart Lars Lokke Rasmussen pledged continued support to Ukraine following a G7 meeting in BerlinImage: Michael Sohn/AP/picture alliance

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Thursday said the G7 leaders had agreed to additional support for Ukrainian air defense at a press conference alongside Danish counterpart Lars Loekke Rasmussen.

Baerbock said that this year was "anything other than a normal year,” referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

G7 ministers agree to more aid for Ukraine

The minister said that the G7 states had agreed to continue cooperation for the strengthening of Ukraine's air defense, adding that Berlin was providing IRIS-T defense systems and additional Gepard anti-aircraft guns. She also welcomed Washington's announcement it will send US Patriot Systems to Ukraine.

Baerbock also stressed the importance of humanitarian aid as Ukraine faces a winter with heating and other critical infrastructure damaged by Russian strikes. "Every delivery helps,” she said.

Baerbock noted that a majority of Danes in summer had voted for "more Europe" in security politics, referring to a referendum in June that lead to the suspension of Copenhagen's opt-out from the EU's common defense policy and military operations.

She said that the EU's energy transition is making the bloc "more sovereign," adding that Denmark is a major hub of this transition.

Speaking after Baerbock, Rasmussen said that "unity in Europe is more important than ever,” and called Moscow's invasion of Ukraine "inhuman.”

The minister called for the acceleration and intensification of German-Danish cooperation.

'A step towards the Stone Age' in Afghanistan

Baerbock said that she also spoke with the G7 leaders about the situation in Afghanistan. She slammed the Taliban decision to exclude women from tertiary education as "another step towards the Stone Age.”

"Gender persecution may amount to a crime against humanity, under the Rome Statute, to which Afghanistan is a state party,” the minister said.

"Women and girls in Afghanistan aren't just not allowed in universities anymore, they aren't allowed in parks, they aren't allowed to step outside the door unveiled, they aren't allowed to learn," she said.

"Taliban policies designed to erase women from public life will have consequences for how our countries engage with the Taliban," the G7 foreign ministers said in a statement following talks.

sdi/jgc (Reuters, AFP)