Russian drone stalks German foreign minister during Ukraine trip

Annalena Baerbock meets officials in Ukraine on a visit to the the southern city of  Mykolaiv
Annalena Baerbock meets officials in Ukraine on a visit to the southern city of Mykolaiv - Peter WUETHERICH/afp

The German foreign minister was forced to cut short a visit to the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv after being stalked by a Russian drone.

Annalena Baerbock, who had been visiting a water plant in the region on Sunday, was rushed to the nearest bomb shelter after the spy drone was spotted in the sky.

She and her team were taken away from the area in armoured vehicles. The convoy drove west to Moldova, according to German public broadcaster ZDF.

Surveillance drones often appear over Ukrainian airspace before a Russian missile attack.

Earlier in the visit, Ms Baerbock said Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, had falsely calculated that Ukrainians and other Europeans were starting to forget about the war.

“The sheer terror of the Russian president is based on attrition,” she said. “[He hopes] the horror of this war will ultimately lead to resignation among the people here, or in the international community, and that is not going to happen.”

She went on to pledge a further €100 million (£85 million) aid package for Ukraine, bringing Germany’s financial support so far to about €1 billion.

Speaking in Odesa on Saturday, she conceded that Germany was not doing enough to boost Ukraine’s dwindling ammunition supplies.

“Of course, we cannot deliver enough … we’re racking our brains trying to figure out how we can deliver more, including long-range missile systems,” she said.

Germany is Europe’s biggest financial supporter of Ukraine but it has faced criticism over Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s reluctance to provide high-powered weapons systems, which Kyiv says are necessary to defeat Russia.

The Taurus missiles used by Germany have a range of about 300 miles and Mr Scholz is afraid they could be used to strike targets in Russian territory, thus escalating the war.

He is also said to be concerned about Germany being perceived as playing a direct role in the Ukraine war if it supplies the arms to Kyiv.