Surprise visit to Kiev. The German president promises more military and financial support

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier pledged more support to Ukraine, in particular inarea of air defense. This took place during a surprise visit to Kiev on Tuesday, the first since the start of the Russian military operation against Ukraine on 24 February.

Steinmeier originally planned to visit Ukraine in April, but Kiev refused to take him in that moment, irritated by his past support for the West’s rapprochement with Russia. But Kiev and Berlin managed their disagreement.

“My message to the Ukrainian people is: ‘We are not only on your side, but we will continue to support Ukraine economically, politically and militarily,'” Steinmeier told reporters upon arrival in Kiev. in train.

“What matters now is that we help protect Ukrainians as much as possible from air attacks,” he added, noting that Germany has become one of the largest suppliers of air defense equipment to Ukraine in recent months.

The German president, whose post is in largely ceremonial, he denounced what he called Russia’s “brute aggressive” war against Ukraine and said he was looking forward to meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his visit.

Steinmeier said that in addition to military support, his visit will focus on helping repair damaged infrastructure, such as power grids, water pipes and heating systems, as quickly as possible before winter arrives.

Steinmeier, a member of the SPD and former foreign minister, complained of his past support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a project designed to double the flow of Russian gas to Germany but canceled after the Russian invasion.

Steinmeier’s arrival in Kiev coincided with a conference in Berlin on what his guests say the “Marshall Plan” for the reconstruction of Ukraine has established, compared to the challenge faced by the United States in rebuilding Europe after the second. world War.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyal, present at the conference, said on Monday that the estimated cost of rebuilding his country so far is about $ 750 billion.

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