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Berlin won’t stop backing Kiev in face of energy crisis: German FM

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock addresses delegates during a debate on the federal budget 2023 at the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) on September 7, 2022 in Berlin. (Photo by AFP)

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says Berlin will not alter the plan to send weapons and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine although the country is facing an energy crisis amid a reduction in Russian supplies to Europe.

In an unannounced visit to Kiev on Saturday, Baerbock said Berlin will "stand by Ukraine for as long as necessary."

"We will continue to stand by Ukraine as long as it takes — with the delivery of weapons, as well as humanitarian and financial support."

This is Baerbock's second visit to Kiev since the war in Ukraine began on February 24, when President Vladimir Putin of Russia declared the campaign in Ukraine to “demilitarize” the eastern region of Donbas. Ever since, the United States and its NATO allies have unleashed sanctions on Moscow and supplied heavy weaponry to Kiev.

Russia, in response, halted supplies through the Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline to Europe.

Western governments, not least the European countries, have been experiencing a worsening energy crisis. Germany, along with other European Union countries, is scrambling to support homes and industries burdened by a further surge in energy prices.

"It's clear to me, Putin is banking on us growing tired of sympathizing with Ukraine's suffering," the German minister said. "He believes he can divide our societies with lies and blackmail them with energy supplies. And, that he can drain us of the energy to defend ourselves against this brutal attack on all of our values."

But Putin's calculation was wrong, she said. "Because all of Europe knows that Ukraine is defending our peaceful order." 

"Putin is banking on us tiring of our compassion for Ukraine's suffering."

"This plan will not and must not work out because all of Europe knows that Ukraine is defending our peace and security order."

Earlier this week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised to continue supporting Ukraine as he spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Scholz made the remarks following reports that he had rejected Kiev's request for state-of-the-art Leopard 2 tanks during Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal's visit to Berlin last weekend. Shmyha asked Berlin to provide more weapons, including battle tanks, for Kiev.

The Bild newspaper reported Germany would not grant a separate Ukrainian request for troop-transport vehicles given that they were needed for the country's own military.

Germany has so far offered substantial support to Ukraine, sending billions of dollars in military aid and heavy weaponry. The country is the fourth largest donor to Ukraine, behind the US, Britain, and Poland.

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