BERLIN: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has reassured Ukraine of Germany's support in the war against Russia for years to come if necessary.
"Unfortunately, we have to assume that Ukraine will still need new heavy weapons from its friends next summer," Baerbock told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, dpa news agency reported.
"Ukraine is also defending our freedom, our peace. And we support them financially and militarily - and for as long as it is necessary. Full stop," Baerbock said.
She also warned that the war "could go on for years", but added that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been delusional in thinking that Ukraine would fall within a few weeks.
Baerbock also defended Ukraine's claim to the Crimean Peninsula, which was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014. "Crimea also belongs to Ukraine. The world has never recognised the annexation of 2014, which was against international law."
Warning Germans against allowing war fatigue to set in six months since the conflict began, Baerbock conceded that people were "now feeling the consequences of Putin's energy war in their own pockets."
"The social division of Europe is part of Putin's warfare. We must prevent this. It will be a rocky road, but it is part of our political responsibility to cushion the social imbalances resulting from high energy prices."
Baerbock also categorically rejected demands made by some politicians in Germany for Berlin to approve the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline to allow for a greater volume of Russian gas deliveries to avert a gas crisis in Germany later this year.