KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius made an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Tuesday and vowed to keep supporting Kyiv’s efforts to win its war against Russia.
His trip came a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveled to Ukraine and pledged American support “for the long haul,” including an additional $100 million in weapons from U.S. stockpiles.
The visits appeared to be part of an international political effort to keep the war in the public mind as other issues clamor for attention, including the Israel-Hamas conflict.
European Council President Charles Michel reportedly was also due in Kyiv on Tuesday, which is the 10th anniversary of what Ukraine calls its Revolution of Dignity. That uprising that brought momentous change for Ukraine, pushing it closer to the West and bringing confrontation with Moscow.
Ukraine’s fight to push out the Kremlin’s forces has lasted almost 21 months. A recent Ukrainian counteroffensive apparently has yielded no major changes on the battlefield, and another tough winter of attritional warfare lies ahead.
Germany is the second biggest single provider of military and financial support to Ukraine after the United States, and German officials said Pistorius aimed to assess the effectiveness of its aid as well as take stock of the fighting during his visit.
“I am here again, firstly to pledge further support,” Pistorius said at the start of his second Kyiv visit, adding that he also wants to “express our solidarity, our deep solidarity and admiration for the courageous, brave and costly fight that is being waged here.”
Pistorius was to meet his Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umerov, German news agency dpa reported.
Meanwhile, two Russian missiles struck a hospital in the eastern Donetsk region, wounding six people and possibly leaving more buried under rubble, Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said Tuesday.
Russian forces attacked Ukraine overnight with 10 Shahed-type drones, four S-300 missiles and one Iskander-K cruise missile, Ukraine’s air force said Tuesday.
Nine Shahed drones and the Iskander-K missile were successfully intercepted on Monday night, it said. No casualties were immediately reported.
Illia Novikov, The Associated Press