The President of Germany came to Ukraine with increasing tension


KYIV, Ukraine — Germany’s president arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday for his first visit to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. month

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after his arrival that “it was important for me to send a signal of solidarity to Ukrainians at this stage of airstrikes with drones, cruise missiles and rockets.”

Steinmeier’s spokesman Jerstin Gammel released a photo of him in Kiev on Tuesday. “Our solidarity has not been broken and will remain so,” he tweeted.

The German president, whose position is mainly ceremonial, visited Ukraine in his third attempt.

In April, he planned to visit the country with his Polish and Baltic counterparts, but said his presence “seems … not wanted in Kyiv.” Steinmeier came under fire in Ukraine for his alleged rapprochement with Russia when he was the German foreign minister.

A planned trip last week was postponed due to security concerns.

Steinmeier’s visit comes as Ukrainians prepare for less electricity this winter after a sustained Russian blockade of their infrastructure in recent weeks. Citizens of the southern city of Mykolaiv lined up for water and supplies as Ukrainian forces advanced on the Russian-occupied city of Kherson on Tuesday.

Ukrainian authorities on Monday sought to allay public fears that Russia was using Iranian drones to strike the country’s infrastructure, claiming increasing success in shooting them down.

Ukraine’s intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said Monday that Ukrainian forces shot down more than two-thirds of the 330 Shahed drones shot down by Russia on Saturday. Budanov said that the Russian military has ordered about 1,700 drones of various types and is deploying the second batch of about 300 Shaheds.

Although Russia and Iran deny the use of Iranian-made drones, the distinctive triangular-shaped Shahed-136s have rained down on civilians in Kiev and elsewhere.

Russia will use large numbers of drones to penetrate Ukraine’s “increasingly effective air defense systems” – to replace “increasingly rare” Russian-made long-range precision weapons, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said.

The assessment comes on the heels of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s stern warning to his British, French, Turkish and American counterparts over the weekend that Ukrainian forces were preparing a “provocation” involving a radioactive device – a dirty bomb. England, France and the United States called this claim “blatantly false”.

A dirty bomb uses explosives to disperse radioactive waste to spread terror. Such weapons do not have the devastating destruction of a nuclear explosion, but can expose large areas to radioactive contamination.

Russian authorities doubled down on Shoigu’s warning on Monday.

The head of the radiation, chemical and biological defense forces of the Russian army, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, said that Russian military assets are highly prepared to deal with possible radioactive contamination. He told reporters that a dirty bomb explosion could contaminate thousands of square kilometers (miles) of land.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that “this is not an unreasonable suspicion, we have serious reasons to believe that such things can be planned.”

Ukraine assessed Moscow’s claims as an attempt to distract from its plans to detonate a dirty bomb. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht on Monday called Russia’s claim that Ukraine could use a dirty bomb “extraordinary”.

The White House reiterated on Monday that Russia’s claims are false.

“This is simply not true. We know that’s not true,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. “In the past, the Russians sometimes blamed others for what they intended to do.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hinted that Moscow is preparing the ground for placing a radioactive device on Ukrainian soil. He also urged citizens to conserve electricity, as nearly 30 percent of the country’s power plants have been destroyed or severely damaged in recent weeks.

“Now is not the time to have window screens and illuminated signs,” he said.

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