German defense minister makes unannounced visit to Odessa
Despite numerous military assistance and the sharing of intelligence with Kiev, Christina Lambrecht still claims Berlin "will not become a party to the conflict."
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht arrived to Odessa, Ukraine, on an unannounced visit Saturday and met with her Ukrainian counterpart, Alexey Reznikov, promising to deliver IRIS-T SLM air defense systems to Ukraine 'in the coming' days.
As reported by the Welt TV channel, Lambrecht noted that Kiev is facing significant amounts of air attacks, reiterating the importance of providing air defense support.
"We will support our friends for as long as it takes," the German Defense Ministry said on Twitter.
During her meeting with Reznikov, according to the DPA news agency, Lambrecht was cautious regarding designating Russia as a 'terrorist state', speaking instead in favor of imposing new sanctions against Russia.
"This is the right way to go," the DPA quoted her as saying.
Lambrecht, in addition, 'understood' Ukraine's desire to join the NATO alliance as soon as possible, however, she reminded Reznikov that the country needs to meet some conditions. She also added that "NATO has taken a clear position" on Ukraine.
Not a party to the conflict?
"We will not become a party to the conflict. We’ve made that clear at the beginning of this conflict and we will stick to it from now on," the German Defense minister claimed.
Yet Germany's Zeit magazine reported Thursday that German foreign intelligence service BND has been forwarding satellite imagery, radio and phone intercept data to Kiev, helping the Ukrainian war efforts.
The information “can be incorporated into war planning and help the Ukrainian army to assess the combat effectiveness and morale of Russian units or to check their positions,” Zeit wrote.
The magazine, in addition, wrote that German spies gave the US some intelligence from Baghdad during the 2003 Iraq invasion. Berlin, at the time, officially refused to share information with Washington during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which frustrated the BND.
This time is different; all the spies, in this "exceptional historical situation," went on to assist the Ukrainians.
Bruno Kahl, the chief of the BND, met with his Ukrainian counterpart at the Munich Security Conference in February, and was in Ukraine when Russia launched its military operation.
Nevertheless, despite this major revelation, Chancellor Olaf Scholz keeps insisting that Germany is not a party to the war in Ukraine, keeping in mind that Berlin has a policy of not commenting on intelligence matters.