German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius arrived by train in Kiev today, in a surprise visit aimed at reaffirming Berlin’s support for Ukraine in its war against Russia. Pistorius is expected to hold talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Rustam Omerov and President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Berlin, the second-largest supplier of military aid to Kiev after the United States, is seeking to offer reassurances after a shift in focus to the war in the Middle East raised concerns about declining support for Ukraine. The visit comes after an increase in Russian air strikes and as Kiev prepares for an expected increase in raids on the country’s energy facilities in the coming winter months. This is Pistorius’s second visit to Ukraine since he became Defense Minister earlier this year, and comes a day after US Secretary of State Lloyd Austin also made a surprise visit to Ukraine. In addition to political talks, Pistorius will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at Maidan Square in Kiev and visit a military training centre. After some initial hesitation, Germany dramatically increased its support for Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion and supplied Kiev with a wide range of weapons, ranging from heavy tanks to air defense systems and ammunition. The conflict also prompted the German government to undertake a comprehensive reform of the country’s military, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz unveiling a €100 billion fund to strengthen the armed forces. Since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas, Germany has provided strong support to the Jewish state in its war against Palestinian militants. But Schulz promised last month that Berlin would continue its aid to Kiev, insisting that it would “support Ukraine as long as necessary.”
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