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Ukraine will ‘strengthen EU’ – German FM

Annalena Baerbock says there should be no “gray areas” in Europe

The EU and NATO will continue to back Ukraine as it is “geopolitically critical” to their own interest, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said. 

Speaking at the Green Party Conference in Karlsruhe on Saturday, Baerbock asserted that the European Union must accept Kiev, as it can no longer afford any gray areas in Europe.

“It’s in our own geopolitical interest that Ukraine joins the European Union, which is why we will not only continue our support for Ukraine, but also strengthen it in the EU and NATO,” she said, stressing that “Europe is our life insurance and that’s what is important and geostrategically crucial.”

“Today it is clear that Ukraine will strengthen the EU in the foreseeable future,” she stressed.

Last month, Baerbock said that Ukraine’s future “lies in” the EU, adding that the bloc would soon incorporate regions that had joined Russia in 2022 but are still claimed by Kiev. “[The EU] will soon stretch from Lisbon to Lugansk,” Baerbock told journalists on the sidelines of the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in the Ukrainian capital.

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German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks to journalists in Kiev, Ukraine, on October 2, 2023.
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Reiterating Berlin’s stance of seeking to admit Ukraine to the EU, Baerbock added that it also applies to Moldova, Georgia and potentially Western Balkans, to leave no “grey areas” outside of Brussels’ control. However, earlier in November, she admitted that the bloc itself would have to undergo “tedious” reforms to properly function with so many members.

Germany is Ukraine’s second-largest military aid donor behind the US, while Baerbock has become one of the most vocal advocates of Kiev since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine military conflict.

Berlin recently pledged to “expand and increase” its support for Ukraine in the coming years, though providing virtually no details of the planned assistance. It was, however, revealed that Berlin is planning to provide another air-defense system and electricity generators as part of the so-called “winter protection umbrella” scheme.

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Having spent some $18.2 billion providing military assistance to Kiev, Germany still trails far behind the US, which had spent around $45 billion, according to Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Russia has repeatedly stated that Western arms supplies to Ukraine were hardly affecting the situation on the frontlines. In early November, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that “despite the supply of new kinds of NATO weapons, the Kiev regime is losing.” The Russian military has also regularly published photos and videos of destroyed Ukrainian heavy armor, including German-made Leopard tanks.

November 26, 2023 at 07:08AM

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