Steinmeier assures Ukraine of solidarity
During a visit to Slovakia, the German president has also warned Russia’s President Putin not to underestimate Nato’s defence readiness.
Kosice (dpa) – Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has assured Ukraine of Germany’s lasting solidarity. A willingness to help Ukraine and to bear burdens in solidarity will be required for a long time to come, he said during a visit to Slovakia. “We will not leave Ukraine alone in these difficult times. We must provide and are providing assistance – in humanitarian, financial and also military terms.”
At the same time, Steinmeier warned Russia’s President Vladimir Putin not to underestimate Nato’s defence readiness. “Our democracies are strong and able to defend themselves”, he said after talks with Slovak President Zuzana Caputova in the city of Kosice. “They are ready and able to defend every inch of the alliance’s territory – and to do so together.” This unequivocable signal is also being sent by the German and Dutch squadrons of the Patriot air defence missile system stationed in Slovakia, he said.
This trip is a continuation of the German president’s visits to Nato’s eastern flank. He has already been to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in recent weeks, and plans to visit Romania next week. Slovakia shares a border of almost 100 kilometres with Ukraine and fears for its own security. Situated in the east, Kosice is the country’s second largest city and a hub for humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as an arrival point for many refugees from the country.