Kiev mayor pans German offer of helmets to Ukraine

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Kiev mayor pans German offer of helmets to Ukraine

The mayor of Ukraine’s capital city, former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, pulled no punches against the German government Wednesday after Berlin committed to supplying Ukraine with 5,000 military helmets in the face of a potential Russian invasion.

“The behavior of the German government leaves me speechless,” Klitschko, who was elected mayor of Kiev in 2014, told German tabloid Bild, according to Reuters. “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 added. “Pillows?” 

Earlier Wednesday, Germany Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced Berlin would be sending 5,000 helmets to support Ukraine’s armed forces.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko
Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko scoffed at Germany’s pledge to send 5,000 helmets to Ukraine’s armed forces.
REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

“I received a letter from the Ukrainian embassy, requesting support with military equipment, helmets to be precise,” Lambrecht told reporters. “We will supply Ukraine with 5,000 helmets — as a clear signal: We are at your side.” 

It is unclear if the helmets would be donated or paid for by Ukraine’s government. 

“This is equipment, not weapons, but it helps,” Lambrecht added. “This is exactly how we will continue to work in this conflict. We are working towards reaching a peaceful solution to this conflict in the middle of Europe.” 

Germany has previously said it would not send weapons to Ukraine despite the growing tensions with Russia. 

“We are standing on Kiev’s side,” Lambrecht said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag newspaper. “We have to do everything to de-escalate. Currently, arms deliveries would not be helpful in this respect; there is agreement on this in the Germany government.” 

On Tuesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated his government’s stance, saying: “In recent years, the German government has repeatedly decided not to supply lethal weapons. There are reasons for this, which are of course also based on all the developments of recent years and decades.” 

German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht
Germany Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said the aid shows that Germany is on Ukraine’s side as tensions rise with Russia.
REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo
German helmets
The German government will not supply lethal weapons to Ukraine.
dpa/picture alliance via Getty I

That same day, Ukraine received a third shipment of American military equipment — including lethal and non-lethal defense items — as part of $200 million in aid approved by President Biden last month. 

The shipment, which weighed in at 79 tons, included 300 Javelin anti-tank missiles

The US has also approved the dispatch of American-made weapons to Ukraine from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

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