Ukraine war: Boris Pistorius arrives in Kiev for a surprise visit

War in Ukraine
Defense Minister Boris Pistorius arrived in Kiev for a surprise visit

Boris Pistorius on his first visit to Ukraine with President Volodymyr Zelensky in February this year

© Kay Nietfeld / DPA

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius traveled to Kiev for the second time since taking office. There he wants to reaffirm Germany’s support for Ukraine.

Against the background of increasing Russian air strikes on cities and energy infrastructure in Ukraine, Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) made an unannounced visit to Kyiv arrived. “I’m happy to be back,” Pistorius said upon his arrival at the train station in Kiev early Tuesday, where he was greeted by German Ambassador Martin Jäger. It is the German Defense Minister’s second trip to Ukraine since taking office in January.

Boris Pistorius travels to Kyiv

Pistorius’ US colleague Lloyd Austin only arrived in Kiev on Monday for a one-day visit. With his visit, Pistorius wanted to reaffirm Germany’s support for Ukraine, the ministry said. The big topics of the trip are the training of Ukrainian soldiers and military aid.

In addition to political talks with his Ukrainian colleague Rustem Umerov, a wreath-laying ceremony on Maidan Square, where the pro-European protests began ten years ago, and a visit to a Ukrainian military training facility are also planned.

There have recently been fears in Ukraine that the war in the Middle East could reduce attention to the war against Russia and thus Western support for Kiev. Pistorius recently reiterated that Germany sees itself as having a duty towards Ukraine.

Despite the escalation in the Middle East, Germany “will not stop supporting Ukraine,” the defense minister said. “This war will not be forgotten.” The federal government has announced an increase in planned military aid for Ukraine from four billion to eight billion euros for the coming year.

Increased Russian air strikes

The minister’s visit takes place against the backdrop of a recent increase in Russian air strikes in Ukraine. The capital Kiev was under massive night-time drone bombardment over the weekend.

In the coming months, Kiev expects attacks on its cities and the infrastructure for energy and heat supply, as was the case last winter. At the end of October, Germany delivered a third Iris T-SLM air defense system. Another is to follow as part of the German “winter package” for Ukraine by the end of the year.

In June, Ukraine launched a counteroffensive against Russian troops in the south and east of the country. However, the military campaign was slow for a long time and initially only led to the recapture of a handful of villages.

Recently, however, the Ukrainian military reported gains in terrain and a “successful breakthrough” on the Dnipro. The wide river has been the front line between Ukrainian and Russian forces in the south of the country for about a year. The western bank is held by Ukraine, while Russia controls the opposite bank. If the latest reports about the Ukrainian move are confirmed, it would be Ukraine’s biggest success in months.


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