"Those responsible for this atrocious war must be held accountable," Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to Berlin on Sunday. "No state in the world has the right to invade another country and no one has the right to murder, plunder, or kidnap children." That, he said, was why Germany, together with its partners, was working to ensure that Russia would be held accountable for its atrocities.
The Russian offensive against Ukraine has now been going on for 444 days. Since the start, Federal Chancellor Scholz and the Ukrainian President have had frequent telephone exchanges and have met in person several times, in Kiev, Brussels, Paris and Munich. Sunday was Zelensky's first visit to Berlin. "I am very happy about that," said the Federal Chancellor.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, and Federal Chancellor Scholz issued this statement at their meeting in Berlin.
Close connection will shape relations for decades to come
"Over a million Ukrainians, especially women, children, and the elderly, have found refuge here in Germany," said the Federal Chancellor. German citizens, he added, stood in full solidarity with the people who fled here to escape the brutal attacks. "This sense of solidarity is strong and enduring," he said, emphasising that the resulting close ties would shape relations between Germany and Ukraine for decades to come.
Scholz highlighted the comprehensive assistance provided by Germany to Ukraine. "By itself, our bilateral support for Ukraine since the beginning of the war amounts to 17 billion euros," he said: "And we have taken steps to ensure that this aid will continue to be made available in the years to come."
An overview of humanitarian, financial, and military aid provided by Germany.
Germany is also, and in particular, supporting Ukraine in its defensive struggle through extensive arms deliveries. "And we're not wavering in our support", the Federal Chancellor said: "Just recently we decided to put together a new support package for a total of 2.7 billion euros' worth of military equipment." Among other things, he continued, the Ukrainian armed forces would be receiving more Leopard-1 main battle tanks, additional Marder infantry fighting vehicles, and Iris-T systems.
"I've said it many times and I'll repeat it here today," the Federal Chancellor said at the press conference: "We will continue to support you for as long as it takes." Ukrainian President Zelensky thanked the Federal Chancellor and the citizens of Germany, saying: "The Ukrainian people will always be grateful to the German people for this."
Included in the new support package are 18 wheeled howitzers, artillery ammunition, guided missiles for the air defence systems, four IRIS-T SLM Infra Red Imaging System Tail Surface Launched Medium Range fire units and twelve IRIS-T SLS launchers, additional main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles (30 Leopard 1 A5 and 20 Marder), over 100 armoured combat vehicles and over 200 reconnaissance drones. The full breakdown of military support equipment.
Federal President Steinmeier had met with the Ukrainian President in Bellevue Palace in the morning, where Zelensky signed the guest book prior to his discussion with Steinmeier.
That afternoon, the Charlemagne Prize was awarded to the Ukrainian President and the Ukrainian people. The Governing Board's explanatory memorandum states that, under the leadership of its President, the Ukrainian people are not only defending their own national sovereignty and the lives of their citizens, but also Europe and European values. See here for more information about the event.