Ukraine demands more weapons from Germany as thousands show support

There were some 3,500 people, according to a police spokesperson, while the organizers were expecting up to 10,000 demonstrators.

Berlin: Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov has called on Berlin to authorise the delivery of Gepard tanks from other countries, as thousands of people in Germany took to the streets in German cities to show their support for Ukraine on its independence day.

“You could give them permission to give us the tanks. That’s why we ask the Germans: Give us the tools and we’ll do the job,” Reznikov told German broadcaster ARD late on Wednesday, dpa news agency reported.

Reznikov called for “more than just friendship and lip service,” as his nation marked its independence from the Soviet Union and the sixth month of the war started by Russia.

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Ukraine would also like to have more “real weapons, such as the MARS II rocket launcher,” Reznikov said. The army already has three, but 12 would be “even better.”

Germany has sent heavy weaponry to Ukraine from its own military stocks, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced another the shipment of more than �500 million ($499.3 million) in weapons.

Berlin must also authorize the transfer to Ukraine of arms that originated in Germany but are now in other countries.

Reznikov ruled out a diplomatic solution to the war. “The goal of negotiations is a dream of our partners. At the moment this is not a dream of Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s wish was to liberate all the territory that had been temporarily occupied, he explained.

Six months after the start of the Russian war against his country, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba appealed to Germany not to let up in its solidarity.

Doubts would only help Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kuleba told the Welt television channel on Wednesday.

“The defence of European freedom and prosperity is our common cause. Stand with Ukraine, win with Ukraine,” Kuleba said.

Russian troops currently control around one-fifth of Ukraine and have caused extensive destruction in the south and east of the country.

Later in the day, hundreds of people in Berlin turned out in a show of support for Ukraine.

Following prayers in the Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz in the centre of the German capital, people marched toward the Brandenburg Gate, many clad in Ukrainian flags or wearing them on their shoulders. Others dressed in blue and yellow, the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

There were some 3,500 people, according to a police spokesperson, while the organizers were expecting up to 10,000 demonstrators.

The event was organised by the Vitsche association, whose board member Vlada Vorobiova said, “Today is on the one hand a day of great horror – it’s been six months since Russia attacked all of Ukraine – but at the same time a day of great freedom, independence, for which Ukraine stands and fights.”

There were similar shows of solidarity in other German cities, with several thousand people gathering in Frankfurt in a demonstration of support, police said.

In nearby Mainz, people formed a chain across the Theodor Heuss Bridge to show solidarity with Ukraine.

August 24 marks the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s break from the Soviet Union, when it declared independence after the failed coup against then-leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

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