Germany FM visits Ukraine's Kharkov, promises 'winter aid'
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock went to Ukraine in an undeclared visit and only announced that she was in the country after returning home.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock declared her country's full support for Kiev in light of the Ukraine war, becoming the highest-level Western official to visit Kharkov on Tuesday.
Saying she simply wanted to get a picture of the situation on the ground, Baerbock's visit was kept secret for security concerns, and Berlin only announced that it took place after the top diplomat made her way back home.
"Above all, I want to listen to the residents, who are being so hard hit by the war in this bitterly cold winter, when temperatures are currently dropping in the night to -15 Celsius," said Baerbock, whose country has been fueling the fire of the Ukraine war since it started with sanctions on Russia and arms shipments to Kiev.
"In all parts of Ukraine, from Kharkov to Kherson to Kiev, people should know that they can rely on our solidarity and support," she added.
It is noteworthy that Kherson is one of Russia's newest regions, having become part of the Russian Federation just a few months ago after President Vladimir Putin signed a document declaring them Russian territories following popular referenda that saw the overwhelming majority of their citizens voting in favor of becoming parts of Russia.
The referenda were held in the liberated Lugansk People's Republic (LPR), Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Kherson, and Zaporozhye.
Furthermore, Baerbock underlined that Germany would be providing Kiev with the necessary assistance to ensure that Ukraine becomes part of the European Union.
"As the government, we want to make very concrete offers to Ukraine in order to strengthen the rule of law, independent institutions, and the fight against corruption, as well as in aligning with EU standards," she said.
The visit came just a day after Germany discussed with Greece the progress in Greek deliveries of BMP-1 armored infantry vehicles to Ukraine, and the vehicles getting replaced with the German Marder infantry fighting vehicles.
Athens and Berlin agreed that Athens would receive an equal number of the Marder IFVs instead of the East-Germany-made BMP-1 IFVs sent to Ukraine, which Greece had received back in 1994.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in June that Germany would send infantry fighting vehicles to Greece so that the Greek government can transfer Soviet-style weapons to Ukraine.
Additionally, the trip came days after Scholz said Berlin would be sending Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, which Kiev has been eyeing for quite a while now.
Baerbock's latest visit is her third to Ukraine since the outbreak of the war, becoming in May the first senior German official to travel to Ukraine since February.
During her first trip, the foreign minister announced that she was reopening her country's embassy in the country.