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YES and Victor Pinchuk Foundation hosted a discussion on the support strategy for Ukraine in German Bundestag

On the eve of the Ukraine Recovery Conference, Yalta European Strategy (YES) and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, with support from Robin Wagener, Member of the Bundestag and Chairman of the German-Ukrainian Parliamentary Group, hosted the discussion titled “German Support for Ukraine What Is the Strategy?” in German Bundestag.

German support to Ukraine is the most significant among other EU countries. Germany has provided Ukraine with critical air defense systems and artillery. It has been the second largest donor of aid after the United States since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. 

The list of issues discussed at the event included: 

  • What is the strategy of Germany for supporting Ukraine?
  • What outcome does Germany want to achieve? 
  • What is the European approach? 
  • What do key partners think, where are strategies aligned and where do they differ? 
  • What is the impact of the European elections? 
  • What can be expected from the Peace Summit in Switzerland?

Among the participants of the discussion were Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People, European Commission;  Yvonne Magwas, Vice President, German Bundestag; Siemtje Möller, Parliamentary State Secretary for Defense, Federal Ministry of Defence of Germany; Radosław Sikorski, the Foreign Minister of Poland; Victor Pinchuk, businessman, founder of the Yalta European Strategy (YES); Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine; Robin Wagener, Chairman of the German-Ukrainian Parliamentary Group, German Bundestag. Wolfgang Ischinger, Ambassador (ret), President, MSC Foundation Council Senior Fellow, Hertie School of Governance (Berlin), YES Board member, moderated the discussion

Among other guests who contributed to the discussion were: Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Poland (1995–2005), Chairman of the Board of YES; Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia (2016-2021), and member of the YES Board; Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden (2006-2014); Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-1994), YES Board Member; German Major General Christian Freuding, Head of the Bundeswehr's Situation Centre for Ukraine; Michael Gahler, Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine / Foreign Affairs Spokesperson EVP; Anton Hofreiter, the Chairman of the Committee on European Union Affairs; Oleksandr Korniyenko, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine; Sanna Marin, former Prime Minister of Finland (2019–2023); Oleksandra Matviichuk, Head of the Center for Civil Liberties, human rights lawyer, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2022; Lyudmila Meniuk, veteran and the Head of Malva human rights organization of soldiers’ mothers; Penny Pritzker, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine’s Economic Recovery; Moritz Schularick, President, Kiel Institute for the World Economy; Vadym Skibitskyi, Deputy Chief, Defence Intelligence of Ukraine; Hlib Stryzhko, veteran and the Head of Veteran Hub (Kyiv); Yulia Svyrydenko, First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine – Minister of Economy.

During his opening remarks Victor Pinchuk, businessman, founder of the Yalta European Strategy (YES), said: “I know that during the Weimar Republic, Reichstag President Paul Löbe hosted several meetings with German politicians and great intellectuals in the Reichstag. And among them was even Albert Einstein who is one of my greatest heroes. And we know that Einstein proved that everything in this world is relative. Everything, but not support for Ukraine. Support for Ukraine is an absolute priority. Even Albert Einstein would agree with this.”

Robin Wagener, Member of the Bundestag and Chairman of the German-Ukrainian Parliamentary Group, noted: “There are many tactical means for Ukraine to win this war and for us to support it, and our common goal must be the victory of Ukraine and the defeat of Putin. That is the current position of the German Bundestag, which has been made very clear in the motion, and we should continue to work on this at full speed.”

Stressing the security as the guarantor of freedom and prosperity, Robin Wagener emphasized: “NATO membership is therefore the best policy for Ukraine, and therefore a key pillar for the reconstruction of the country. And I would like to see clear signals here at the upcoming NATO Summit in Washington and clarity from the German government as the Bundestag has a very clear motion supporting the cause of full Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine.”

Yvonne Magwas, Vice President of the German Bundestag, remarked on the importance of continued support for Ukraine: "We have to do two things: neither let our support become less nor forget the suffering of the brave Ukrainians. Were Putin to win this war, his imperialistic ambitions would only become greater. We cannot allow ourselves to be forced into a war or peace debate. Ukraine must be able to defend itself."

Speaking of Ukraine’s European prospects, Yvonne Magwas revealed: "According to the EU Commission, Ukraine meets all the requirements for starting negotiations on joining the European Union. Let's hope that this happens soon."

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for An Economy that Works for People, European Commission, remarked: “Just recently, the EU has extended our autonomous trade measures on unilateral opening of the EU single market to Ukraine for another year. And we continue with our Solidarity Lanes initiative, which initially was there to support Ukraine's exports in a situation of blockage of the Black Sea corridor. Now it is becoming a question of developing stronger longer-term connectivity between Ukraine and the EU because it's clear that we are going to allow more economic and trade relations between Ukraine and the EU.”

During the keynote speech, Penny Pritzker, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine’s Economic Recovery, discussed unwavering commitment to support Ukraine: "Even in this election super year, where half the world's population is voting, the international community is not, will not and cannot lose interest or faith in Ukraine's ability to fight and win. So I'm not going to sugarcoat it. The war remains tough. Russian attacks have wrought massive destruction, causing a nine-gigawatt power generation shortage. Putin is attempting to break the will of the Ukrainian people. We're here in Berlin to say it won't work. The United States, along with Ukraine's many allies, including Germany, is rushing new military, economic and energy support to Ukraine, much of it propelled by the $60 billion Ukraine supplemental."

Penny Pritzker also highly regarded Ukraine’s breakneck innovations and noted that Ukrainian defense companies were cobbling together the most innovative technologies to build precision missiles, drones and armored vehicles: “Ukrainian defense companies have compressed the turnaround, from development to battlefield adoption in drone and counter-drone technology, electronic warfare and cyber to just two weeks. Even top American defense CEOs I've spoken to have marveled at the cutting-edge innovation of Ukraine's defense production. That ingenuity courses through Ukraine, from the battlefield to the medical field.”

Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna gave the snapshot of the current situation and challenges Ukraine is facing: “I just want to bring a very clear angle to where we are right now. We're in a very important moment, which leads us to victory when we're working hard to shield military and financial support to Ukraine. We have been facing a lot since the war started, not speaking only about the military dimension: we have seen changes in political moods, we have seen different elections, we have seen a temporary disengagement from European partners, from the United States. And we have found ourselves in a situation where we can really see that some commitments cannot be fulfilled or are delayed. So we all have seen how much it affected the front, how much it affected the military situation, how much it affected Ukrainians.”

Speaking of the overarching goal, Olha Stefanishyna stressed: “Everything we are about to start doing, starting from tomorrow, the Berlin Conference, the Peace Summit, and, hopefully, a very good and nice event at the end of June in Brussels related to Ukraine's accession to EU, then the NATO Summit in Washington, and the G7 meeting – this will be pursuing only one simple goal – to secure and to shield military and financial support.” 

In her moving speech, Lyudmila Meniuk, a Russia-Ukraine war veteran and the leader of Malva human rights organization of soldiers’ mothers, called on European partners not to delay deliveries of assistance: “I will speak plain: I am a soldier, a soldier’s mother and a soldier’s wife. I want to thank Germany for making the decision to provide support. I want to ask you to provide it quicker. Making a decision is good, but delaying deliveries to destinations means deaths, injuries, and grief for those who didn’t receive the support in time.”

Hlib Stryzhko, Russia-Ukraine war veteran and Head of Veteran Hub (Kyiv) called on Ukraine’s partners to be brave and embrace responsibility: “We are not kids any more. I am sure that many of you raise your children and grandchildren and know what responsibility to others is to achieve something together. I am very proud to have a Ukrainian passport with trident. I want to keep it forever. I want my country to live. If we all together embrace responsibility for our common victory, this country will live very long and be your reliable shield and partner. And we will help you.”


Photos from the event are available here

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