Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal called on Germany on Sunday to step up its military support for Ukraine, while acknowledging the efforts already made, during a trip to Berlin which turns the page on recent tensions between the two countries .
Germany’s long wavering attitude towards Moscow following the outbreak of war six months ago and its initial lack of military support in kyiv have deeply irritated the government of Volodymyr Zelensky.
But things have since improved. Mr. Chmygal’s visit to Berlin on Sunday, a first for a Ukrainian official of this level since the beginning of the Russian invasion, symbolizes this relaxation.
The Prime Minister “thanked Germany for its military, financial, humanitarian and political support”, while stressing the need to provide kyiv with more heavy military equipment, according to a press release from his services.
“MARS II rocket launchers and [obusiers] Panzerhaubitze 2000, supplied by Germany, performed well on the battlefield, and we hope to increase the supply of heavy weapons,” Chmygal said in the statement.
Less than a week ago, Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for Germany to take “special responsibility” to help Ukraine strengthen its artillery and air defense systems.
“We hope that Germany will become one of the leaders in the process of developing air defense [ukrainienne] “, echoed his Ukrainian counterpart on Sunday.
Germany will host a Washington-initiated meeting of defense ministers from Ukraine’s allies next Thursday. This meeting of about forty countries, on the American air base of Ramstein (west), is intended to organize the support of the Ukrainian military capacities vis-a-vis Russia.
In Russia, former President Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday accused Germany of waging a “hybrid war” against Russia, justifying the cessation of gas deliveries to Berlin by its “unfriendly” behavior in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine.
“First, Germany is an unfriendly country, second, it imposed sanctions on the entire Russian economy […] and it delivers lethal weapons to Ukraine,” Medvedev said in a post on Telegram.
Denys Chmygal also settled another recent quarrel between kyiv and Berlin on Sunday, meeting the head of state, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Mr. Steinmeier, twice Minister of Foreign Affairs to Angela Merkel, has long supported a policy of relaxation with Russia, before making his mea culpa by acknowledging a mistake. Declared for this reason persona non grata by the executive of Volodymyr Zelensky, he had to cancel a visit to kyiv in mid-April.
Germany “will continue to stand reliably alongside Ukraine,” Steinmeier assured the Ukrainian leader, according to the German president’s spokeswoman.
A conference of experts on the reconstruction of the country, in which the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is to take part in particular, will be held on October 25 in Berlin.
Before his visit, Denys Chmygal had noted “the immense progress” made by Germany in its military aid to Ukraine, which has gone from “protective equipment” to “artillery”.
Germany had recently promised to deliver Iris-T air defense systems to Ukraine. This must be done “in the fall”, according to the Ukrainian Prime Minister.
Another symbol of this new era in bilateral relations is the forthcoming arrival of a new Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin. His predecessor, Andrij Melnyk, for months attacked Germany’s timorous attitude towards Russia with virulence.
After his visit to Berlin, Mr. Chmygal is expected in Brussels on Monday to chair with the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, a meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council, and participate in a conference on Russian crimes in Ukraine with the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola.
In Ukraine, the local authorities announced on Sunday that the Russian forces had continued since the day before to bombard the region of Mykolaiv (south), causing in particular the death of a child following the collapse of his house, and a woman, and injuring 6 people. A balance sheet impossible to confirm from an independent source.
On the front of agricultural exports, stopped by the war and which resumed recently after an agreement including the belligerents to avoid shortages in the rest of the world, 13 boats loaded with a total of 282,500 tons of food left Ukrainian ports on Sunday in direction of 8 countries, announced the government of kyiv.
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