April 14. 2024. 7:14

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German vice-chancellor reaffirms belief in Ukraine’s victory


German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) discussed forming a deeper partnership on energy and reconstruction as he and a business delegation arrived for a surprise visit to Kyiv on Monday.

Ukraine should be given a clear sign “that we believe it will be victorious, that it will be rebuilt,” Habeck told reporters in Kyiv, ARD reports.

“There is an interest from Europe not only to support in times of need but that Ukraine will also be an economically strong partner in the future,” he added.

Ukraine also has a desire and strategic plans to decentralise its grid, including for security reasons, said Habeck as he visited the transformer station of Ukrainian power grid operator Ukrenergo, which has reported Russia’s repeated attacks on the grid – causing temporary blackouts for millions.

Habeck, who is also responsible for the energy portfolio, offered to reorganise the German-Ukrainian Energy partnership, which has existed since 2020.

According to him, Ukraine could also become an important energy exporter to Europe If it let go of fossil fuels and reoriented towards renewable energy. This would be an “invitation to decarbonise,” he added.

It is Habeck’s first visit to Ukraine since Russia attacked Ukraine in February of last year. His trips have been postponed since last autumn due to the winter offensive of the Russian troops.

A delegation of business representatives also joined the visit to give “Ukraine hopes that there will be reconstruction after the war”, Habeck said.

He added that the trip would also come with “concrete investment decisions”, which had already taken place or will do so soon.

It would be a “signal to Ukrainians that the German business community also stands by them,” said Siegfried Russwurm, head of the German industry association BDI, who was in the delegation.

“Reconstruction starts now, not only after a peace deal,” he added.

(Jonathan Packroff | EURACTIV.de)