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26 Nov, 2023 01:38

Ukraine will ‘strengthen EU’ – German FM

Annalena Baerbock says there should be no “gray areas” in Europe
Ukraine will ‘strengthen EU’ – German FM

The European Union has to accept Ukraine as a member, as it can no longer afford any gray areas in Europe, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has argued. 

Speaking at the Green Party Conference in Karlsruhe on Saturday, Baerbock insisted that the EU and NATO will continue to back Kiev because they view such support as geopolitically critical.

“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, including regions that were incorporated by 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.

Reiterating Berlin’s stance that Ukraine should join the EU, Baerbock said the same applies to Moldova, Georgia and potentially the Western Balkans, so as to leave no “gray areas” in Europe. 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 donor of military aid behind the US, and Baerbock has become one of the most vocal advocates of Kiev since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Berlin recently pledged to “expand and increase” its support for Kiev in the coming years. Berlin is planning to provide another air-defense system and electricity generators as part of the so-called “winter protection umbrella” scheme.

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

Russia has stated that Western arms supplies to Ukraine have failed to have a significant impact on the frontline. 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.

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