Berlin (AP) – At a meeting in Berlin, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal made concrete proposals to Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on the delivery of Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. “We talked about the subject.
We even suggested how Germany can supply Ukraine with these tanks,” Schmyhal told journalists on Sunday after his talks with Scholz in the Chancellery.
He could not disclose “all the agreements and all the details of the conversation”. “But we discussed all these questions about the tanks and other military systems for Ukraine absolutely constructively.” When asked if he was optimistic that the main battle tanks would eventually be delivered, Schmyhal said, “I’m always optimistic.”
Scholz generally promises further military support
The Prime Minister was received by Scholz with military honors in front of the Chancellery in the afternoon. A joint press conference was canceled on Saturday by the German side due to scheduling reasons. Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said at the meeting, among other things: “The Chancellor stressed that Germany would not let up in supporting Ukraine militarily, but also politically, financially and humanitarianly.” He did not go into possible concrete arms deliveries.
Even before his arrival in Berlin, Schmyhal had requested the delivery of Leopard 2 main battle tanks from the German government. “We need a change in the philosophy of arms deliveries. By that I mean: modern battle tanks should also be delivered,” said Schmyhal in an interview with the German Press Agency. The Leopard 2s are “the modern tanks that Ukraine needs on the battlefield.”
Schmyhal also makes an offer: nuclear power for Germany
The federal government has so far promised Ukraine weapons worth more than 700 million euros, most of which have already been delivered – including some heavy weapons: ten heavy artillery pieces of the Panzerhaubitze 2000 type, 15 anti-aircraft tanks, three multiple rocket launchers and three armored recovery vehicles. So far, Scholz has expressed skepticism about the delivery of battle tanks. So far, no other NATO country has delivered western-style main battle tanks to Ukraine. The Chancellor has always insisted that Germany will not go it alone.
During his visit, Schmyhal not only made demands, but also made an offer. Ukraine wants to support Germany with the delivery of nuclear power on its way out of dependence on Russian energy supplies. “Ukraine is currently exporting its electricity to Moldova, Romania, Slovakia and Poland. But we are quite prepared to expand our exports to Germany,” Schmyhal told dpa before his meeting with Scholz. He wanted to talk to the chancellor about it. “We have enough electricity in Ukraine thanks to our nuclear power plants. I’ll address that during my visit to Berlin and then to Brussels.”
Development Minister wants to help internally displaced persons
Schmyhal was the highest-ranking Ukrainian visitor to Germany since the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine began a good six months ago. He was also received in Berlin by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Bellevue Palace. He also met Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD), who promised him help with reconstruction. She pointed out that Germany provided emergency aid of 185 million euros immediately after the start of the war. This support is now to be continued with the already promised 406 million euros. “The focus should be on supporting families who have fled within the country,” said Schulze.
Schmyhal wants to hold talks in Brussels on Monday. There, too, it will be about electricity exports. Ukraine has been connected to the European network since March. Since then, the country has been exporting between 400 and 700 megawatt hours of electricity to the European Union and Moldova every day. Schmyhal now wants to increase the export quotas for the EU many times over. “That would be very good for both sides. The EU would get more energy and we (get) the foreign exchange that we urgently need,” said the Prime Minister. Ukraine is one of the most dependent countries in the world on nuclear energy, its share in electricity production is more than 50 percent, according to the Federal Agency for Nuclear Waste Management Safety.
Ambassador Melnyk’s successor named
Immediately before Schmyhal’s visit, a personnel decision became known that had been the subject of speculation for a long time. Ukraine officially named the successor to the current ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk. Oleksiy Makeyev, the government’s current sanctions commissioner in Kyiv, is to take over the post.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had already given his approval at the request of the Ukrainian government, the Federal Foreign Office said on request. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed current ambassador Melnyk from his post in mid-July. The plan is for Melnyk to leave Germany on October 14 and take up a post in the Ukrainian foreign ministry.
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