German minister: Ukraine needs long-range weapons to defend Kharkiv

Session of the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - Ukraine needs more long-range weapons to fight off Russian advances in the northern Kharkiv region where the situation around the country's second-largest city remains "highly dramatic", Germany's foreign minister said on Friday.

Russian forces have made inroads of at least several kilometres in the region in recent days, forcing Kyiv's outmanned troops to try to hold the line on a new front as Moscow mounts more pressure on the front in the east.

It is important to cut off Russian supply routes and give Ukraine weapons "that can be used over medium and long distances," Annalena Baerbock said on the sidelines of a meeting of the foreign ministers in Strasbourg.

"We are also working with other partners on this." Overall, it is an "extremely difficult situation," she added.

Germany has become Ukraine's second-biggest supplier of weapons since the Russian invasion in 2022 but Chancellor Olaf Scholz has so far balked at equipping Kyiv with long-range Taurus missiles.

(Reporting by Alexander Ratz; writing by Matthias Williams; editing by Friederike Heine)