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Germany rejects military aid request from Ukraine

BERLIN – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas rejected a Ukrainian request for weapons on Tuesday as Kyiv has been fighting Russian-backed separatist rebels in the east since 2014.

“I am convinced that the conflict can only be solved by political channels, and that should be clear to all involved,” Maas said at a news conference in Berlin ahead of an online meeting of NATO foreign ministers. “This remains the guiding principle of our engagement, and it won’t change — weapons deliveries don’t help in this,” he added.

Maas’ comments were in response to an interview by the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in which he requested military aid.

“Germany has not given us military help, but it could do. Germany has great ships: speedboats, missile speedboats and patrol boats,” said Zelensky.

While Berlin and Paris have spearheaded ongoing Western diplomatic efforts to settle the lingering military conflict in eastern Ukraine, a political solution is not expected any time soon.

Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 13,000 people, according to UN estimates.

Western governments have repeatedly accused Russia of sending regular soldiers across the border into Ukraine, but Moscow claims any Russian fighters in eastern Ukraine are merely “volunteers.”

Russia has faced Western sanctions for its role in the Ukrainian armed conflict.

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