German Vice Chancellor makes surprise visit to Ukraine
German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck has arrived in Ukraine on a surprise visit, his first to the country since the outbreak of war.
A spokesperson for Germany’s energy and economy ministry confirmed the visit, saying Habeck, who also serves as minister for energy and the economy, arrived in Kyiv early on Monday.
The spokesperson did not give further details, citing security precautions.
However, the Spiegel news magazine reports that on the agenda is the reconstruction of Ukraine, which has been at war with Russia since Moscow invaded the country in February 2022, and cooperation in the energy sector.
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Following initial criticism of its hesitancy to supply heavy weaponry to Ukraine, Germany has become one of the country’s key military backers, most recently providing Kyiv with 18 Leopard 2 battle tanks, considered some of the most potent weapons in the West’s arsenal.
Ukraine’s energy sector has repeatedly come under Russian attacks during the conflict, at times leaving millions of people without power.
The war also triggered an energy policy overhaul in Berlin, which was forced to look for alternative energy partners after abandoning its close economic relations with Russia.