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UKRAINE

German Foreign Minister urges swift Ukraine tank decision

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called for a speedy decision on deliveries of battle tanks requested by Ukraine, adding to the pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to approve the extra support.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) visits a German-funded demining project near Kyiv, Ukraine on September 9th.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) visits a German-funded demining project near Kyiv, Ukraine on September 9th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Fischer

“In the decisive period that Ukraine is in, I do not think this is a decision you can delay for long,” Baerbock told German daily FAZ in an interview published Thursday.

The decision could however only be made “together in a coalition and internationally”, Baerbock said.

Her words will add to the pressure on Scholz, who has come under fire domestically and abroad for failing to supply the armour requested by Ukraine for its counter-offensive.

Germany has sent dozens of missiles, howitzers and anti-aircraft tanks to the front to support the Ukrainian war effort.

But Berlin has so far drawn the line there and declined to approve the direct transfer of Leopard battle tanks and Marder infantry-fighting vehicles sought by Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces have deployed Western-supplied weapons in a dramatic counter-offensive launched at the beginning of September that has seen Kyiv’s troops retake vast swathes of land.

“More weapons are going to come to Ukraine,” said Baerbock’s Green party colleague, Economy Minister Robert Habeck, at a press conference Thursday.

Habeck did not detail which armaments that entails, but said they would be the “right weapons” for the situation.

Speaking on Tuesday, Scholz said Germany had delivered weapons that were “making the difference on the battlefield” but that Germany would not “go it alone” on arms deliveries.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has slammed Germany’s reluctance to send the battle tanks, saying there was “not a single rational argument on why these weapons cannot be supplied”.

READ ALSO: Ukraine blasts Germany’s ‘excuses’ over tank deliveries¬†

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UKRAINE

Germany recognises Stalin famine in Ukraine as ‘genocide’

German lawmakers on Wednesday approved a resolution declaring as "genocide" the 1930s starvation of millions in Ukraine under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, adopting language used by Kyiv.

Germany recognises Stalin famine in Ukraine as 'genocide'

The joint text passed by members of parliament from Germany’s centre-left-led coalition and the opposition conservatives is intended as a “warning” to Russia as Ukraine faces a potential hunger crisis this winter due to Moscow’s invasion.

Only the extreme right and left-wing parties abstained from voting on the resolution in the lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag.

“I thank the Bundestag for this historic decision,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted on Wednesday. “The truth always wins.”

The 1932-33 “Holodomor” — Ukrainian for “death by starvation” — is regarded by Kyiv as a deliberate act of genocide by Stalin’s regime with the intention of wiping out the peasantry.

Stalin’s campaign of forced “collectivisation” seized grain and other foodstuffs and left millions to starve.

The Holodomor has long been a major sticking point in ties between Russia and Ukraine.

Moscow rejects Kyiv’s account, placing the events in the broader context of famines that devastated regions of Central Asia and Russia.

The current conflict has fuelled fears that history may repeat itself. Russia’s targeting of grain storage facilities and its blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea exports have sparked accusations that Moscow is again using food as a weapon of war.

Robin Wagener of Germany’s Green party, one of the resolution’s initiators, said Russian President Vladimir Putin operated “in the cruel and criminal tradition of Stalin”.

“Once more, the basis for life in Ukraine is meant to be taken away through violence and terror, and the entire country brought to heel,” he told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Wagener said calling Holodomor a genocide was intended as a “message of warning” to Moscow.

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