Germany to provide “winter protection” to Ukraine despite reports that Kyiv bombed Nord Stream pipelines
In a meeting with European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday, Germany signified its plan to expand and increase its support for Ukraine, especially in the coming year, but did not fully disclose specifics on how to go about it. It only shared a few details in giving Kyiv “winter protection” in the months ahead.
According to Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Berlin is planning to send Kyiv another U.S.-made Patriot air-defense system and electricity generators as part of the so-called “protection umbrella” scheme for the coming cold months.
She urged her fellow ministers to not focus solely on the recent hostilities in the Middle East as there is still a need to “face geopolitical challenges” in Europe as well. She warned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime that Moscow should not expect the bloc’s reduction in aid to Kyiv as a result of the ongoing “dramatic situation worldwide.” “We will not only continue our support for Ukraine. We will continue to expand and increase it,” she asserted.
Germany’s Bild tabloid reported over the weekend that the governing coalition in Germany is seeking to increase military aid to Ukraine from $4.27 billion to $8.54 billion in 2024 alone. The parliament’s budget committee is expected to review and potentially approve the plan at some point this week, according to the paper. As per Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Berlin is currently Ukraine’s second-largest military aid donor. Having spent some $18.2 billion providing military assistance to Kyiv, Germany comes next, after the U.S., which had spent around $45 billion, the institute’s data showed. Also, the data on Ukrainian military aid indicated that Berlin will spend $5.76 billion this year on arming and training the Ukrainian troops, which went up from just $2.13 billion in 2022.
Meanwhile, critics question this “goodwill” to Kyiv despite reports of the latter’s alleged involvement in the bombing of Nord Stream pipelines, which had a devastating effect on Berlin’s economy. Roman Chervinsky, a decorated 48-year-old colonel who has deep ties with Kyiv’s intelligence services, was reported by the Washington Post to have played a central role in the bombing of the natural gas pipelines last year.
“Chervinsky … was the coordinator of the Nord Stream operation, people familiar with his role said, managing logistics and support for a six-person team that rented a sailboat under false identities and used deep-sea diving equipment to place explosive charges on the gas pipelines,” the WashPost article read. “On Sept. 26, 2022, three explosions caused massive leaks on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which run from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The attack left only one of the four gas links in the network intact as winter approached.”
However, Chervinsky was said not to have acted alone and he did not plan the operation. He took orders from more senior Ukrainian officials, who ultimately reported to Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s highest-ranking military officer, as per people familiar with how the operation was carried out but asked to remain anonymous. (Related: Mysterious cylindrical object discovered near Nord Stream 2; Kremlin says object could help determine main culprit behind pipeline sabotage.)
Western arms not helping Ukraine, end up in Talibans’ hands
Since the start of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, Western powers have sent Ukraine tens of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons in an attempt to defeat Russian troops. However, Putin said that these were hardly affecting the situation on the frontlines. In early November, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that “despite the supply of new kinds of NATO weapons, the Kyiv regime is losing.” Its military has also regularly published photos and videos of destroyed Ukrainian heavy armor, including German-made Leopard tanks.
Also, Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said in June last year that some of the weapons sent to Ukraine could end up in the hands of organized crime groups. Reports indicated that the illegal arms trade by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime said in March that there was currently no substantial outflow of weapons from the Ukrainian conflict zone. “However, every precedent suggests that, especially if the threat is not addressed proactively and imaginatively, when the current war ends, Ukraine’s battlefields could and will become the new arsenal of anarchy, arming everyone from insurgents in Africa to gangsters in the streets of Europe,” the report said.
Meanwhile, Putin maintained that some Western weapons intended for Ukraine have been sold to the Taliban on the illegal arms market during a meeting with members of the Russian Civic Chamber earlier in November. “Now they say: Weapons are getting into the Middle East from Ukraine. Well, of course, they are, because they are being sold,” Putin said, according to a Reuters translation of his comments. “And they are being sold to the Taliban, and from there, they go on wherever.”
Read more about the Nord Stream pipeline explosion at Pipelines.news.
Sources for this article include: