Scholz calls for more air defense for Ukraine at the Berlin conference


At an international reconstruction conference for Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called for further strengthening of the country’s air defenses against Russian attacks.

He called on his allies to support a German initiative to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense “with everything possible.”

“Because the best reconstruction is the one that doesn’t have to happen at all,” Scholz said at the start of the conference, which is being held in the German capital Berlin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is also present.

Scholz held out the prospect of far-reaching long-term commitments to rebuild the country, which has been seriously scarred by more than two years of costly all-out war and years of simmering conflict before that.

Scholz said he will push for these kinds of commitments at an upcoming summit of the G7 group of rich democratic countries, starting Thursday in Italy.

The chancellor pointed out that the World Bank estimates that $500 billion in reconstruction aid will be needed over the next decade.

He also called on private companies to participate in investments: “Given the size we are talking about here, private capital must be involved.”

Hundreds of German companies continue to actively do business in Ukraine, with car companies employing around 35,000 people in Ukraine alone, Scholz points out.

Despite the war, there had been no reduction in German investment in Ukraine, Scholz said, and trade volume had increased significantly since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

“All this shows me that the business community understands the potential of Ukraine,” Scholz said.

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