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POLITICS

Poll: Steinmeier best SPD candidate for 2009 chancellor

According to poll published on Thursday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is believed to be the best candidate for the chancellor from the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) in the upcoming 2009 election.

The poll for public broadcaster ARD said 33 percent of those surveyed support Steinmeier as a chancellor candidate against current Chancellor Angela Merkel, the leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union. Meanwhile two other SPD members, party leader Kurt Beck and Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück earned a collective support for a chancellor bid of only 17 percent – though 30 percent of poll participants said they found none of the three SPD choices adequate.

The poll, conducted by institute for market and political research DIMAP, reported that participants who are SPD partisans gave Beck a 34 percent approval rating for the position. Steinmeier came second with 31 percent, and Steinbrück 18 percent. Some 16 percent of those questioned said they none of these candidates had a good chance for succeeding in the race.

UKRAINE

Germany’s defence minister visits Ukraine: ministry

Germany's Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Saturday, her first since Russia's invasion in February, as Kyiv urges Berlin to send it battle tanks.

Germany's defence minister visits Ukraine: ministry

Lambrecht visited the southern port city of Odessa, the German defence ministry said in a statement, without saying how long the trip had lasted. It added on Twitter that she had met her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov.

So far, no NATO country has supplied Western battle tanks to Kyiv.

Ukraine has repeatedly sought Leopard battle tanks from Germany to aid in its counter-attack against Russia, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government has refused.

Scholz has said he doesn’t want to go it alone on arms supplies and will only take decisions in consultation with his Western allies.

Lambrecht reiterated this stance in Odessa: “We will always confer with our partners about what Ukraine needs,” she said.

“From my impressions today, air defence and artillery are currently at the forefront,” she told public broadcaster ARD.

She added that she had seen how the “populations were tormented by drones”.

Lambrecht’s visit came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

These annexations have been unanimously condemned by Ukraine’s allies.

“Germany will never recognise the results of the sham referendums” in the four regions, Scholz told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone on Wednesday, according to the chancellor’s spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.

Scholz travelled to Ukraine in June, and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has visited Kyiv twice.

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