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Germany's Baerbock vows further support during Kyiv visit

September 10, 2022

Annalena Baerbock has made her second visit to Kyiv since Russia invaded. She promised Ukraine further help in clearing mines in former combat zones.

Annalena Baerbock visits Ukraine
Annalena Baerbock visits a minefield in Velyka Dymerka, near Kyiv, where Germany is supporting a demining projectImage: Michael Fischer/dpa/picture alliance

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has promised Ukraine further military assistance during an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Saturday. It is her second visit to Ukraine since Russia invaded in late February. 

She was hesitant to publicly guarantee Kyiv's demand for battle tanks but assured that Germany would help with the removal of mines from conflict zones. 

Baerbock said: "As the situation on the ground changes, we are re-examining our support and will discuss further steps." 

At a joint press conference with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Baerbock stressed that the time was urgent. 

She added, "The next weeks and months will be crucial."

Baerbock said her presence in the country is intended to show "that we will continue to stand by Ukraine as long as it takes — with the delivery of weapons, as well as humanitarian and financial support."

Baerbock said her visit was also meant to counter potential war fatigue in Germany.

"It's clear to me, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is banking on us growing tired of sympathizing with Ukraine's suffering," she said. "He believes he can divide our societies with lies and blackmail them with energy supplies. And, that he can drain us of the energy to defend ourselves against this brutal attack on all of our values."

But Putin's calculation was wrong, she said. "Because all of Europe knows that Ukraine is defending our peaceful order."

Germany vows demining help

Baerbock has also promised Ukraine further support in clearing mines in former combat zones. In addition to the delivery of weapons, this is important in order to make life safer for people in the areas temporarily occupied by the Russian army, said the German minister during her visit to a minefield in Velyka Dymerka near Kyiv.

In Velyka Dymerka, Germany is supporting a civilian project to clear mines. The federal government has provided a total of €6 million ($6 million) for the disposal of explosives by the non-governmental organization HALO.

Baerbock traveled by a special night train to Kyiv from Poland on Saturday night, accompanied by a small delegation.

She plans to meet with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, among others, although her exact schedule has been kept secret for security reasons.

Baerbock last visited Ukraine in May — a visit that included a trip to Bucha, where Russian soldiers allegedly committed civilian massacres and war crimes.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kyiv two days ago, where he promised more than $2 billion of additional military aid for Ukraine and its neighbors.

dh,ss/wd (Reuters, AFP, dpa)