First visit since the beginning of the war: Lambrecht experienced Odessa in the air raid shelter

During a surprise visit to Odessa, Defense Minister Lambrecht has to go to the air raid shelter.

First visit since the beginning of the war: Lambrecht experienced Odessa in the air raid shelter

During a surprise visit to Odessa, Defense Minister Lambrecht has to go to the air raid shelter. The Russians fired at the city from the sea, explains her colleague. So it's fitting that the SPD politician promises a lightning delivery of anti-aircraft weapons.

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has traveled to Ukraine for the first time since the war began. In the port city of Odessa on the Black Sea, the SPD politician was received by her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Resnikov. Lambrecht promised to deliver a first unit of the already promised Iris-T SLM ground-based air defense system within a few days. Even the Bundeswehr does not yet have the state-of-the-art system. Shortly before the visit, which was initially kept secret for security reasons, two Russian Iskander missiles hit an industrial area in Odessa, according to Ukrainian sources. Nobody got hurt.

In the port of Odessa, the minister found out about the use of a Gepard anti-aircraft tank made available by the federal government. Germany delivered a total of 30 of these tanks, including around 6,000 rounds of ammunition, to the country attacked by Russia. The system helps protect the "critical infrastructure" and defend against Russian air attacks, she said in the grain port. From there, the Ukrainian grain is exported to the world via the Black Sea, after deliveries had long been blocked by Russia. Lambrecht also spoke to the German-trained Gepard team.

A planned visit to the city of Mykolaiv, around 40 kilometers from the front, had to be canceled for security reasons due to the threat of Russian rocket and artillery attacks. In the area, Lambrecht originally wanted to visit weapon positions, training facilities and mine clearance activities together with Reznikov.

Because of an air alert that lasted 45 minutes, the 57-year-old had to seek shelter in a bunker in the afternoon. Reznikov said the Russians shot down a Kalibr missile, most likely from a ship. In the bunker he advertised the delivery of anti-ship missiles. The SPD politician said the situation made it clear how important it was to deliver a first unit of the Iris-T SLM ground-based air defense system quickly. Lambrecht spoke of delivery in a few days and praised the system's Ukrainian team, which she met during training in Germany.

"Ukraine is currently experiencing an incredible number of airstrikes, and that's why it's so important that we provide even more support in terms of air defense," said the minister, emphasizing: "You can rely on us there." Reznikov said the Ukrainians would fight until all their territories were liberated - including Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed from Russia in 2014.

Lambrecht promised the rapid delivery of a unit of the Iris-T SLM air defense system. Germany initially wants to make four of the systems, each costing 140 million euros, available to Ukraine. Funding for three more systems has been secured. A unit consists of four vehicles - a fire control unit and three rocket launchers. It should be able to protect a medium-sized city from air attacks. According to the German manufacturer Diehl Defence, the system enables protection against attacks by aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles.

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