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Zelenskyy’s shopping list of goals as he touches down in Germany

When Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Germany with his shopping list, he had a number of goals.

“Already in Berlin” Weapons. A powerful package Air defense. Reconstruction. EU. NATO. “Security,” he tweeted.

Some of his demands were already met before he even landed.

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The German government promised Kyiv that it would continue to deliver arms worth EUR2.7bn (2.35bn PS).

The biggest military package the country has ever received includes artillery and air defence systems, infantry fighting vehicle, and 30 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks.

Berlin has changed its position dramatically since the beginning of the war when it was hesitant to send weapons.

Germany agreed to send Leopard II battle tanks only after increasing pressure.

Picture: AP

It is one of Ukraine’s largest financial and military supporters, despite the perception that it started slowly.

But frustration with arms deliveries is not the only issue.

Even before the Russian invasion, Kyiv had suspicions about Germany’s dependence on Russian energy as well as its pursuit of economic relations with Moscow under Angela Merkel.

Last year, Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier had his invitation to Ukraine withdrawn because of perceived close ties with Russia. This was a slight that angered Germany as it had given financial assistance and welcomed more than one million refugees.

While both President Steinmeier, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz were in Ukraine since then, Mr Zelenskyy’s friendly meeting with them Sunday was about as much building bridges as ensuring continued support.

Ukraine may not be happy with Germany’s every move, but it understands that Germany is an important European powerhouse to have on its side.

“Germany has proven to be our true ally”

In his first official visit to Germany since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Zelenskyy expressed gratitude for the German government’s “fantastic support”.

In his guest book he made this point clear, writing “In the most difficult time in modern Ukraine’s history, Germany proved to us that it was our true ally and friend… Together, we will bring peace to Europe and win the war.”

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Olaf Scholz, in return, said that the visit sent out a “strong message” and promised to support Ukraine for “as long as necessary”.

It was also important to maintain the German public’s support.

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Many people in Germany fear an escalation of a European conflict, even though they support Ukraine.

According to a recent survey, the majority is also against Ukraine joining NATO quickly, and the rising cost of living adds another financial concern.

A January Ipsos poll showed that the percentage of Germans who thought the country couldn’t afford to provide financial assistance to Ukraine because of the current economic situation had increased nine points to 56%.

The more the war continues, the greater the chances of doubts creeping in. Visits by the most-watched president in the world showing his gratitude can go a long ways to building lasting support.


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