Germany is an important ally of Ukraine and supports the country in the war against Russia. The German government issued that message today after it became clear yesterday that German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is not welcome in Kyiv.
Steinmeier, along with Polish President Duda and their counterparts from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, wanted to show support for Ukraine in Kyiv. But the Ukrainian government has made it clear, according to Steinmeier, that it is undesirable.
to me picture President Zelensky himself would have decided that Steinmeier should not have come because of his close relations with Russia in recent years. But Zelensky’s spokesman denied that today.
“Nen” against Steinmeier stirs a lot in Germany. Many politicians in the Bundestag today express their misunderstanding. Chancellor Schultz said on the radio that he finds it “a bit disturbing” that the head of state is not welcome.
The Chairman of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee Michael Roth (SPD) traveled to the country with colleagues from other coalition parties yesterday – and they were welcome. Roth says the German president was not told until after Steinmeier was already in Poland. After that, the president will go to Ukraine, but this did not happen. “It’s important that we stay in touch, but I’m very disappointed,” Roth said. “This is not justified for our president either.”
Steinmeier, foreign minister in the third Merkel government, has maintained good contacts with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. He defended the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany to the end.
Last week, Steinmeier acknowledged that Germany should have taken Eastern European warnings about Moscow seriously earlier, especially after 2014, when the conflict in eastern Ukraine began. He admitted it was an “obvious mistake” to stick with the controversial pipeline. Then Ukraine’s foreign minister said he appreciated Steinmeier’s “honest words”.
Steinmeier’s criticism does not come out of nowhere. At the beginning of this month, the Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin criticized the German president over his relations with Moscow. He also felt that other prominent politicians – such as Chancellor Schultz – maintained very close relations with Russia. Scholz was invited by Kyiv.
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