BERLIN – German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will soon travel to Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday.
The announcement came on the day that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj Scholz invited President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the entire German government to visit Kyiv after weeks of diplomatic tensions with Berlin.
Before and after a phone call in which Steinmeier and Zelenskyy attempted to resolve their issues — which centered on Kiev’s concerns over Steinmeier’s previously soft stance on Russian President Vladimir Putin — Steinmeier and Scholz had “exhaustive talks,” the latter told reporters in Berlin .
“As a result of the talks, we agreed that the foreign minister will be in Ukraine soon,” said Scholz, adding that it was “good” that Steinmeier and Selenskyj had talked “very diligently”.
Thursday’s developments came as a relief to those in Berlin government circles who were concerned about the awkward atmosphere between Zelenskyy and Steinmeier, as well as Scholz’s reaction to their falling out, which involved holding back his own trip to Ukraine in what some felt was an unwarranted pout , were unhappy .
But on Thursday, Scholz praised Ukraine for its fight against Putin.
“Russia has not achieved all the goals it has been pursuing with this war – I am sure that Russia intended to conquer all of Ukraine in a very short time,” Scholz said.
“The fact is the incredible military commitment that Russia is showing [in eastern Ukraine] leaves no hope that this will soon come to an end,” he lamented the “incredible destruction” in the country.
Scholz also confirmed a plan previously floated by Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala that the Czech Republic would supply Soviet-era heavy weapons to Ukraine and Germany would replace them in a so-called tank swap.
Hans von der Burchard contributed to the reporting.
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