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Pistorius: Germany's support for Ukraine 'firm and sustained'

by Martin Fornusek February 17, 2024 9:06 PM 3 min read
Boris Pistorius, Federal Minister of Defence of Germany, at Munich Security Conference 2024 on Feb. 16, 2024. (Olena Zashko / The Kyiv Independent)
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Germany will stand behind Ukraine "no matter how long (Russian dictator Vladimir) Putin continues his senseless war against this peace-loving country," German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17.

"Our support for Ukraine is firm and sustained," Pistorius added.

The world's security and political elite have gathered in Munich for the annual security conference. The Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which nears its two-year mark, is one of the chief topics on the agenda.

"This war is about much more than two states fighting over territory. This war is about the question of whether we'll allow an imperialist power to impose its will on another sovereign state," Pistorius said, addressing the conference's participants.

According to the minister, it is the responsibility of Germany and other allies to restore Ukraine's territorial integrity and strengthen the country's resilience.

Berlin's role in the pro-Ukraine alliance is growing more vital amid delays in U.S. assistance and a possible return of Donald Trump to the White House.

Trump raised concerns among NATO allies when he said he would encourage Russia to do "whatever the hell it wants" to members who do not meet the 2% defense spending mark. He has also opposed the U.S. Senate's foreign aid bill that includes $60 billion for Ukraine, thus contributing to the holdups in crucial assistance for Kyiv.

Speaking in Munich, the German defense minister said that "regardless of who sits in the White House," Berlin aims to make the European contribution to collective defense more relevant.

Pistorius reminded that Germany will hit the 2% GDP spending mark this year. The country is boosting its defense industrial capacities, for example, in artillery and air defenses, he noted.

Germany's defense chief also implied that Europe needs to come to terms with the fact that Russia acts as an "imperialist" and "warmongering" neighbor.

"After the Cold War, we tried to build an inclusive security infrastructure. Unfortunately, we failed. Now we know why: all of these attempts ran counter to the Kremlin's strategy of reinstalling its dominance in Eastern and Central Europe," Pistorius said.

The minister predicted the formation of a new division on the continent between "free and democratic Europe on one side" and "authoritarian and warmongering Russia" on the other.

This year's Munich Security Conference takes place during a precarious situation for Ukraine. Kyiv is trying to revive the allies' commitment amid the growing hesitancy in the U.S.

Just as the world's security leaders gathered in Munich, Ukrainian troops were forced to withdraw from Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast. The loss of this fortified city that resisted Russian attacks since 2014 has been linked by many to the delays in U.S. assistance.

Zelensky in Munich: ‘If Ukraine left alone, Russia will destroy us’
“Keeping Ukraine in the artificial deficits of weapons, particularly in a deficit of artillery and long-range capabilities, allows (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to adapt to the current intensity of the war,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

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