This marks Pistorius’s second visit to Kyiv since assuming the role of defence minister at the beginning of the year. His visit comes on the heels of an unannounced trip by US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also reiterated Washington’s continued support for Ukraine.
During the visit, Pistorius laid flowers at Maidan Square in central Kyiv, expressing solidarity and admiration for Ukraine’s brave fight. He also arrived by train and was scheduled to hold discussions with his Ukrainian counterpart and President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The timing of the visit coincides with an escalation of Russian air attacks on Ukraine, as Kyiv prepares for anticipated strikes on its energy facilities in the approaching winter months.
In addition to the wreath-laying ceremony at Kyiv’s Maidan square, Pistorius was also set to visit a military training center.
Following some initial hesitancy, Germany substantially increased its support for Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, providing a wide range of armaments, including heavy battle tanks, air defense systems, and ammunition.
The conflict has prompted the German government to embark on a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s military, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz unveiling a €100-billion ($109-billion) fund to strengthen the armed forces.
Haunted by guilt over its role in World War II, successive German governments had historically viewed the armed forces as a low priority, leading to years of neglect.
Despite offering strong support to Israel amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, Scholz affirmed that Germany remains committed to aiding Ukraine, emphasizing that “we will support Ukraine as long as necessary.”
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