(Berlin) A chancellor who is reluctant to deliver heavy weapons, a head of state declared persona non grata in Kyiv: Germany is again up against the wall, summoned to show firmer support for Ukraine in the face of the Russia.
Posted at 12:21 p.m.
Updated at 1:26 p.m.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier makes a humiliating admission: he admitted on Tuesday that he was not welcome in the Ukrainian capital, where he had planned to go.
The trip was to take place with the presidents of Poland and the Baltic States: “I was ready to do it, but apparently, and I must take note of it, it was not wanted in Kyiv”, indicated Mr. Steinmeier during of a trip to Warsaw.
The daily Bild was the first to report this snub, quoting a Ukrainian diplomat with harsh remarks towards the president, from the Social Democratic camp (SPD): “We all know Steinmeier’s close relations with Russia here… He doesn’t are not welcome in Kyiv at the moment. We’ll see if that changes. »
The recent mea culpa by Mr. Steinmeier, who was twice Angela Merkel’s foreign minister, was obviously not enough.
He admitted in early April that he had made a “mistake” by supporting a policy of detente with Russia.
“We clung to bridges which Russia no longer believed in and against which our partners had warned us,” admitted the head of state.
German MPs in Ukraine
Mr Steinmeier wanted to make the trip at a time when Chancellor Olaf Scholz is in a rush to give Ukraine new tokens of support.
“I think a chancellor’s trip to Kyiv would be a strong signal,” said Ukrainian Ambassador to Berlin Andrij Melnyk.
Provided that the leader does not come empty-handed, like Boris Johnson who pledged to supply armored vehicles and missiles to Ukraine.
But Olaf Scholz has been evasive for days on the delivery of heavy weapons, arousing growing annoyance even within the majority. Berlin had previously been reluctant to supply defensive weapons, before an about-face when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Acerbic, Bild quipped about a trip by the Chancellor to Lübeck in northern Germany, for a regional election meeting, when “Boris Johnson was walking side by side with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi through Kyiv”.
“The chancellor should start using his skills to set guidelines and lead,” Liberal Party MP Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann told the business daily Handelsblatt on Monday.
This president of the Defense Committee in the Bundestag left for Ukraine on Tuesday with the presidents of the Foreign Affairs Committees Michael Roth (SPD) and European Affairs Anton Hofreiter (Greens).
All three come from the ruling coalition parties and all three want Olaf Scholz to give a green light to deliveries of heavy weapons to Ukraine. They must meet, in the west of the country at war, Ukrainian deputies.
Baerbock “gives the La”
German Foreign Minister, environmentalist Annalena Baerbock, also called for the rapid supply of equipment to Ukraine.
Mme Baerbock “shows the chancellor how to do it”, estimates the n-tv news channel in a comment, judging that she has become “the one who sets the tone in an unsure government”.
Surprisingly, it is the Greens, traditionally deeply pacifist, who insist the most. “I really find it difficult to ask for such a thing,” admitted Anton Hofreiter.
It remains to resolve the nature of the armored vehicles that can be delivered, also taking into account the needs of the Bundeswehr. Germany has exhausted the possibilities of drawing on the reserves of its army, in a state of notorious under-equipment, explained this weekend the Minister of Defense, Christine Lambrecht.
Several arms groups, such as Rheinmetall, have offered to make second-hand tanks available, in particular of the Leopard 1 type.
Responding recently to the Ukrainian Ambassador, Mrme Strack-Zimmermann had, however, warned against sending vehicles requiring training before being used, such as the Marder-type tanks requested by Ukraine.
“Your soldiers must master them, otherwise they will truly become cannon fodder,” she warned.