Kiev mayor responds to German aid
The German decision to send Ukraine 5,000 helmets is a “joke” and shows that the government in Berlin has no understanding of the threat posed to the country by the Russian Army, Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Wednesday.
Speaking to the German publication Bild, the former world heavyweight boxing champion criticized Berlin for its lack of help in bolstering his country’s eastern front, saying it left him “speechless.” Klitschko is the head of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, a pro-European party with some popularity in Kiev and forms the local coalition government.
On Wednesday, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced Germany would not send any weapons to Ukraine, but would be shipping 5,000 protective helmets. Berlin’s perceived lack of action to help support Kiev has received criticism throughout the West.
“The Defense Minister has obviously not understood that we are dealing with a perfectly equipped Russian army that can start further invading Ukraine at any time,” Klitschko told Bild. “5000 helmets are an absolute joke. What will Germany send in support next? Pillows?”
Berlin has a policy to not supply weapons to crisis zones, a long-standing decision from previous governments which is also supported by the new coalition formed in December.
“In recent years, the German government has repeatedly decided not to supply lethal weapons. There are reasons for this, which are of course also based on all the developments of recent years and decades,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Tuesday, a day before the decision to send helmets.
The German donation of protective equipment comes as Russia stands accused of placing 100,000 troops on the border, with some claiming that the Kremlin is planning an attack. This claim has been repeatedly denied, but tensions remain at an all-time high.
“We do not intend to take any aggressive actions. We will not attack, raid or invade Ukraine,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said last week.