On Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba praised Germany for taking a harder line toward Russia, calling it a “historical turning point.”
His comments came as German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited Kyiv, making her the highest-level German official to do so since Russia invaded on February 24.
Ukraine had previously rejected a visit from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, raising diplomatic tensions between the two nations. Ukraine’s issue with Steinmeier stemmed from his previous support for Nord Stream 2, the natural gas pipeline that would connect Russia and Germany, which is now suspended.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had been reluctant to send heavy weapons into Ukraine and sign off on a pending EU plan to ban Russian oil. But after coming under enormous pressure, Berlin announced a plan to send Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine and dropped its opposition to the oil ban.
Germany is incredibly reliant on Russian oil and gas, but Baerbock said Tuesday that Berlin will cut its imports of Russian energy to zero, adding “and that will stay that way forever.”
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Scholz’s government dropped its short-lived policy of not sending weapons into conflict zones. “I would like to thank Germany for changing its position on a number of questions. We saw the first Russia rocket hit Kyiv on February 24 and it also struck Germany’s traditional Russia policy,” Kuleba said.
Before caving under pressure, German officials said they wouldn’t send arms to Ukraine for historical reasons, as the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in that region of the world killed tens of millions.