German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock heads to Ukraine


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German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is set to visit Ukraine on Monday for the second time in just three weeks amid fears of a Russian invasion.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly expressed frustration at Germany’s refusal to sell weapons to Ukraine — as well as blocking other countries from doing the same. 

What’s on the agenda for Baerbock in Ukraine?

The foreign minister will meet with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, with the topic of arms exports expected to play a key role.

She is expected to visit a memorial to those who died during the deadly famine in the 1930s before heading to visit a military hospital funded by Germany. On Tuesday she will go to eastern Ukraine and the frontline between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian soldiers.

Baerbock’s last visit was part of a two-day tour to Kyiv and Moscow. During that trip, she also held the German government’s line on not selling weapons to so-called crisis regions.

Kyiv has made a request to its western partners, including Germany, for an array of weapons, including anti-aircraft systems, anti-drone weapons, night-vision equipment, surveillance cameras and ammunition.

The Ukrainian embassy in Berlin said what it is asking for is a “weapons system of a defensive nature.”

Russia expert Stefan Meister at the German Council on Foreign Relations told DW on Monday about why he thinks the talks in Kyiv are significant. He says Baerbock’s visit shows “Germany and the European Union are more active on this conflict.”

“So it’s not only up to the US, but it’s about European security. And to also show unity with smaller countries, especially in Central and Eastern Europe,” Meister said.

What are the latest diplomatic developments regarding Ukraine?

Germany and France have both pushed for a return to the Normandy format of discussions which first took place in 2014 when Russia occupied the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. It involves talks between Russian, Ukrainian, German and French delegations.

Baerbock’s return to Kyiv comes on the same day German Chancellor Olaf Scholz makes his inaugural visit as German leader to the White House, where he is set to discuss the situation in Ukraine with US President Joe Biden.

French President Emmanuel Macron is also headed to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to de-escalate the heightened tensions with the West.

The aim of the various diplomatic visits to Kyiv, Washington and Moscow is to negotiate a way out of a possible armed conflict in Ukraine.

ab/rt (dpa, AFP)


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