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German FM in Kyiv: Germany's air defense initiative collects close to 1 billion euros

by Martin Fornusek May 21, 2024 8:33 AM 2 min read
Illustrative purposes: Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock gives a speech in Berlin, Germany, on March 24, 2024. (Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock arrived in Ukraine's capital on May 21 for a previously unannounced visit.

Upon her arrival, Baerbock underscored Ukraine's need for air defenses to help repel Russian aerial attacks.

"Russian missile terror, constant air alerts, permanent power outages, hardly any water: the situation in Ukraine has once again escalated dramatically with the massive Russian air strikes on the civilian infrastructure and the brutal Russian offensive in the Kharkiv area," the minister said.

"That's why, together with Defense Minister (Boris) Pistorius, I launched a global initiative for more air defense. Almost a billion euros have now been raised to provide additional support for the Ukrainian air defense forces, and we are working intensively to ensure that there is even more."

Berlin launched the initiative in April amid Kyiv's increasingly dire need for air defenses, facing heavy Russian aerial attacks against population centers and the energy grid. A number of countries have already backed the initiative since then, including Belgium, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, and others.

Germany has also pledged to deliver its third Patriot air defense system to Ukraine.

The German newspaper General-Anzeiger wrote that Baerbock was planning to visit Kharkiv but canceled the trip due to security reasons. Russian forces launched a new offensive in Kharkiv Oblast on May 10, accompanied by intensified strikes against regional cities and villages.

This marks Baerbock's fifth visit to Ukraine's capital since the outbreak of the full-scale war in February 2022. The minister previously visited Kyiv on Sept. 11, 2023.

Several countries support Germany’s initiative to find air defense equipment for Ukraine
A number of countries backed Germany’s initiative to find air defense equipment for Kyiv at the 22nd Ramstein-format summit of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) on May 20.
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