Denys Shmyhal

Ukrainian PM In Berlin Seeking Further Military Support

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Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal arrived in Berlin late on September 3 for talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other senior officials, becoming the first top-ranking Kyiv official to visit Germany in months.

The visit signals an end to tensions between the two countries, as Kyiv has criticized Germany in the past for providing too little assistance in Ukraine’s struggle against a massive invasion by neighboring Russia since February.

Scholz visited Kyiv in June, and shipments of weapons have increased since then.

“Germany has made huge progress in its support of Ukraine with weapons,” Shmyhal told German media ahead of his trip. He added that Kyiv needs more, particularly “modern combat tanks” like Germany’s Leopard 2.

Shymhal also said his country was prepared to supply Germany with electricity to help Europe’s largest economy reduce its reliance on Russian energy imports.

Ukraine is experiencing a larger-than-normal surplus in capacity for electricity exports as domestic consumption has fallen significantly since Russia’s invasion because many people have fled the country and the economy has slowed.

Shmyhal will also meet with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on September 4, patching over tensions that resulted when Kyiv rebuffed an offer by Steinmeier to travel to Ukraine in April.

Steinmeier angered Kyiv in the days following the Russian invasion by offering only to provide 5,000 helmets.

Steinmeier previously advocated a policy of “détente” toward Russia, but admitted in the wake of Moscow’s invasion that the policy was a mistake.

Germany has since begun providing significant heavy weaponry, including artillery, rocket launchers, and anti-aircraft systems. A new military aid package worth over 500 million euros ($498 million) has been approved.

In a speech on August 29, Scholz said Berlin would continue backing Ukraine for “as long as it takes.”

Germany has taken in nearly 1 million Ukrainian refugees.

With reporting by AFP and AP

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