German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius arrived in Kiev on Tuesday for an unannounced visit to reaffirm Berlin’s support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian forces.
Berlin, the second-largest supplier of military aid to Kiev after the United States, is seeking to provide reassurance after concerns about declining support for Ukraine grew as focus shifted to the Middle East war. .
Pistorius’ visit to Kyiv is his second since he became defense minister earlier this year, and comes a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also made an unannounced visit to Ukraine to offer Washington’s continued support. It is about.
Laying flowers on Maidan Square in central Kiev, Pistorius said: “I have come here again, first of all to pledge further support, but also to express our unity and deep ties; “It is also to express our admiration for the brave, courageous and sacrificial fight that is being fought.” .
Pistorius arrived by train and was scheduled to meet with the Ukrainian president and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The visit comes in the wake of increased Russian airstrikes on Ukraine, with Kiev preparing for an expected increase in attacks on the country’s energy facilities over the coming winter season.
Pistorius was scheduled to visit a military training center, similar to the wreath-laying ceremony in Kiev’s Maidan Square a decade ago when thousands of people took part in the protracted democracy movement.
After some initial hesitation, Germany significantly stepped up its support for Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion, delivering vast amounts of weapons to Kiev, ranging from heavy tanks to air defense systems and ammunition.
The conflict has also prompted the government to overhaul the country’s creaky military, with Prime Minister Olaf Scholz announcing the creation of a 100 billion euro ($109 billion) fund to build up the military.
Haunted by guilt over the military’s role in World War II, the military has been neglected for many years, with successive governments giving it a low priority.
Since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, Germany has provided strong support to Israel in its fight against Palestinian militants.
But Scholz last month pledged that Germany would continue to maintain aid to Kiev, insisting: “We will support Ukraine as long as it is necessary.”