Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz begins his day trip to Ukraine this Monday with a double commemoration: he will honor the Ukrainian victims of war and aggression at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - not least those who sacrificed their lives in the fight against Nazi Germany.

And he will then commemorate the dead of the "Heavenly Hundreds", those demonstrators for a free Ukraine who died on Kiev's main square Maidan eight years ago.

Johannes Leithauser

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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It is hardly to be expected that Scholz will derive new actions from the double symbolism.

Even before his departure, he said it was important that “the bilateral talks we have are like the statements we make when we make joint decisions in large conferences.

This means that no one should count on us diverging, but on the fact that we will act as one, in the EU and within the framework of NATO.”

The Chancellor's first visit to Kiev, which will be followed by a first visit to Moscow on Tuesday, will therefore primarily be about delivering well-known messages, about expressions of solidarity with Ukraine and warnings of sanctions for Russia.

Scholz will expect the request for military equipment assistance in his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and may answer it with slight changes.

Germany could supply mine clearance equipment

Anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles are at the top of the wish list, which Kiev sent back in writing a few weeks ago after several previous requests.

Berlin will continue to refuse to comply with these requests.

But further down the list there are material requests that the federal government believes could possibly be granted, such as the delivery of mine clearance equipment.

However, there is little inclination to publicly point out such corrections in the German position - after the experience with the announcement that Kiev wants to supply protective helmets, there is great concern about criticism and misunderstanding.

During his talks in Kiev and in Moscow, Scholz will also want to avoid the impression conveyed by Washington in the last few days that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is already a done deal from a Western perspective.

On the one hand, the federal government wants to demonstrate the unity of the West and be perceived as such, but on the other hand it hopes to be able to have an opinion-forming effect in Moscow.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock spoke of an "absolutely precarious situation" on Sunday evening, but went on to say that there was no indication that the decision to invade Ukraine had already been made.

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