From Warsaw, where he met Polish head of state Andrzej Duda on Tuesday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier wanted to head to Kyiv on Wednesday with delegations from Poland and the Baltic states “to send a strong signal of European solidarity with Ukraine,” according to the website of the daily Bild.
But Angela Merkel, the former foreign minister of the Social Democrats, is persona non grata on Ukrainian soil. “We all know Steinmeier’s close relations with Russia here … He is not welcome in Kyiv at the moment. We will see if that changes,” a Ukrainian diplomat told Bild newspaper. A bit insulting to the German president. “A pointless insult.” , according to an editorial by Spiegel.
Steinmeier had made a mistake
In recent weeks Frank-Walter Steinmeier has come under fire, as did the former conservative chancellor, for his supposed lack of assertiveness toward Russia. He admitted in early April that he had made a “mistake” by supporting the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.
“It is clear that my membership in Nord Stream 2 was a mistake. We were clinging to bridges that Russia no longer believed in and our partners warned us against,” said the president, according to statements reported by German media.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier was counting on the fact that “Vladimir Putin will not accept the economic, political and moral ruin of his country because of his imperial folly.” “Like the others, I was wrong,” he concluded. A gas pipeline that was supposed to double Germany’s capacity to supply Russian gas was suspended indefinitely by Berlin in February.
Volodymyr Zelensky had already made more than insulting remarks towards the German chancellor. At the NATO summit in Bucharest, in April 2008, Germany spoke against launching the accession process of Ukraine and Georgia, a position shared by President Sarkozy, arguing that they were not sufficiently stable democracies. A few days ago, the Ukrainian suggested that the two go to Bucha, a town northwest of Kyiv recently captured by the Ukrainians, where many civilians were killed.
Olaf Schulz dodges in the delivery of heavy weapons
Current Chancellor Olaf Schultz is under pressure from his coalition partners. The Greens, who are traditionally very peaceful, are the most insistent. Following the head of diplomacy, Annalena Barbock, fellow environmentalist Robert Habeck, the Minister of Economy, urged the chancellor to act. On Tuesday, he urged that “anything that can help the Ukrainian army now must be dispatched quickly.”
“It will be important for the head of government to come to Kyiv,” Ukrainian Ambassador to Berlin Andrei Melnik said Tuesday evening on the German channels Sat 1 and ProSieben. Blank, like Boris Johnson. who pledged to supply Ukraine with armored vehicles and missiles.
But Olaf Schultz has been dodging for days in handing over heavy weapons, much to the growing alarm of even within the majority. Berlin had previously been reluctant to supply defensive weapons, before the situation changed when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Technical and logistical difficulties still need to be resolved. This weekend, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht made it clear that Germany has exhausted the possibilities of relying on the reserves of its army, in a notorious state.
Many arms groups, such as Rheinmetall, offered to supply new or used tanks, sometimes with significant delays. Liberal MP Marie-Agnes Track Zimmermann also warned against sending vehicles that require training before they can be used, such as Mardier-type tanks ordered by Ukraine. She warned that “the soldiers must control them, otherwise they will already become cannon fodder.”