The Mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine, the European country’s capital city, pleaded with the United States and Germany, saying, “We can’t defend our country” from Russia.
During the closing event for the Munich Security Conference on Friday, Mayor Vitali Klitschko addressed both U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, stating that Kyiv is in need of “defensive weapons” so that it can protect itself from its neighbor.
“We’re ready to fight, we’re ready to defend our families, our states, our cities, our citizens – we need support,” Klitschko said.
He expressed his gratitude to the countries for the support they have provided Ukraine so far, but he also warned that “it’s not enough.”
“We can’t defend our country,” he added.
To this, Blinken reminded the Kyiv mayor that the U.S. has provided their country with $650 million worth of defensive aid. He also vowed to continue working with Ukraine and its allies in NATO in an effort to deter Russia from taking over the former Soviet country.
“There is a growing recognition that what is happening in Ukraine matters first and foremost to Ukrainians, but it should matter to everyone in the world,” Blinken mentioned, adding, “What’s at stake are larger principles that are the foundation of the entire international order established after two World Wars and the Cold War…basic principles that are needed to maintain peace and security.
“We will continue to do everything we can for you, with you and with our partners,” he went on to say.
Meanwhile, the German foreign minister had a different tone. While Baerbock sympathized with Kyiv’s mayor, she didn’t relent in connection to the government's previous decision to not provide the former Soviet country with defensive aid.
Even though sending defensive weapons to Ukraine from NATO allies was approved, Germany refused to provide such aid to Kyiv while Russian forces continued to group up, with around 150,000 troops staying along Ukraine’s border.
Ukraine expressed disappointment last month after Germany responded to its request for military helmets by giving what Klitschko deemed was inadequate.
Berlin agreed on sending 5,000 military helmets to Ukraine’s capital, but according to Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin, Andriy Melnyk, the said support only served as a “symbolic gesture” as the former Soviet nation needs equipment for hundreds of thousands of troops.
“The behavior of the German government leaves me speechless,” the Kyiv mayor stated to a local news outlet back in January as per a Reuters report. “The defense ministry apparently hasn't realized that we are confronted with perfectly equipped Russian forces that can start another invasion of Ukraine at any time.”
“What kind of support will Germany send next?” Klitschko asked. “Pillows?”
On Friday, Germany’s foreign minister responded to the mayor’s condemnation, saying “I’m sorry it was only 5,000.”
Baerbock mentioned that her country was now looking at a “new list” of possible equipment they might provide Ukraine with.
“We have to ensure that the destabilization doesn’t come from inside,” she added. “I truly believe the financial support is as important as the support with regard to security.”
Germany maintains that it has refused to send defensive aid to Ukraine as it may provoke Russia into attacking the former Soviet country.