German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Thursday once again expressed reservations about Ukraine’s request for the delivery of Western fighter jets.
At the start of the G7 foreign ministers meeting in the northern German city of Weissenhaus, Baerbock referred to his previous position on establishing a no-fly zone.
We have “positioned ourselves clearly in terms of (delivery of) aviation material,” the German minister told media representatives.
Germany and NATO strongly oppose the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, fearing its implementation could lead to a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia as there would be a risk of war in Ukraine escalating dramatically.
Meanwhile, Baerbock stressed that the G7 group wants to ensure that Ukraine can remain a major grain exporter despite the Russian war in the country.
He revealed that the G7 meeting in Weissenhaus will also focus on how to unblock Russia’s wheat blockade imposed on Ukraine.
Currently, 25 million tonnes of grain are blocked at Ukrainian ports, mainly in Odesa, because of the war, Baerbock said.
Wheat is urgently needed in African and Middle Eastern countries, the German minister said.
A food crisis is brewing, which will be exacerbated by global climate impacts, he added.
Ukraine is one of the most important suppliers of grain ingredients in the world.
According to figures from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the country last year was still the third-largest exporter of wheat.
Germany’s foreign minister and his G7 counterparts will later Thursday discuss the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The G7 meeting will also discuss China’s role and the situation in the Indo-Pacific.
During the meeting they will also focus on the situation in Afghanistan, Africa and the Middle East, as well as the common struggle against the climate crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.
The foreign ministers of Ukraine and neighboring Moldova, fearful of becoming Russia’s next military target, were also invited to be guests at the meeting.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi will join the meeting via video conference. Indonesia currently leads the G20.
This Saturday, the meeting will turn to informal consultations among NATO foreign ministers in Berlin where the situation in Ukraine is likely to be the focus of the alliance again.
Germany currently leads the G7 group which includes the United States (US), Canada, France, Britain and Italy, as well as Japan.