Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier wanted to visit Ukraine with his counterparts from Poland and the Baltic States – but is apparently not welcome there. In an interview with CNN, an adviser to the Ukrainian president denied that Zelensky had turned down a visit offer to Steinmeier. Steinmeier, however, said kyiv “didn’t want” him to come there. The first reactions to this in federal politics are met with incomprehension.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz criticized Steinmeier’s invitation as “somewhat irritating”. “The Federal President would have liked to go to Ukraine,” Scholz told rbb Inforadio. “That’s why it would have been good to receive it.” Scholz did not answer when asked if he himself would accept the existing invitation to Kyiv. After refusing the visit of the Federal President, Ukraine invited the Chancellor.
Deputy spokesperson for federal government, Wolfgang Büchner, explained that Steinmeier had taken a “very clear and unequivocal” position on the side of Ukraine and, after his re-election in February, called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to loosen “the noose around the neck of the ‘Ukraine”. Büchner did not answer the question of whether the federal government expects Ukraine to reconsider its decision.
Annalena Baerbock, Minister of Foreign Affairs regretted the cancellation of the Ukrainian government. “We talked about this trip together and I would have thought it would make sense,” the green politician said on the sidelines of a visit to the Malian capital of Bamako. “The Federal President has already made it known that he regrets not being able to travel. I regret that too.” At the same time, Baerbock underlined: “We are fully on the side of Ukraine. We support Ukraine in its defense on the ground and we stand in full solidarity.”
SPD politicians are angry at the cancellation
He expressed his irritation Michael Roth, foreign politician of the SPD, who traveled to the country on Tuesday with coalition MPs Marie-Agnès Strack-Zimmermann (FDP) and Anton Hofreiter (Greens). “We received this message when we were already in Ukraine. I couldn’t believe it at first,” Roth said in an interview with the shimmer. “At this time, it is important to keep in touch. I am very disappointed with this refusal. It is not justified either for our head of state.”
Rolf Mützenich, leader of the SPD parliamentary group he said Rhine post: “The Federal President’s trip to kyiv would have been a clear sign of solidarity in foreign policy.” In another statement, Mützenich called on all democratic parties to protect the head of state “from unjustified attacks”. kyiv’s refusal of Steinmeier “is regrettable and does not do justice to the close and long-established relationship between our countries,” Mützenich said. At the same time, he warned Ukraine against any interference in German domestic politics. “With all due respect to the existential threat posed to Ukraine by the Russian invasion, I expect Ukrainian representatives to adhere to a minimum of diplomatic conventions and not to interfere unduly in the internal politics of our country,” he said.
Also Deputy leader of the SPD parliamentary group Matthias Miersch called the Ukrainian decision irritating. “President Zelensky should reconsider if he wants to give diplomacy a chance,” he said.
Of foreign policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Nils Schmid, describes Ukraine’s actions as boring. “The Europeans and NATO want to continue supporting Ukraine,” the politician told Deutschlandfunk. However, this requires “proper interaction” with each other. Regarding the invitation of Olaf Scholz, the politician said: “Pitting the Chancellor against the Federal President is completely unacceptable.” He sees no reason why Scholz should “just go to Kyiv”.
Merz: There are deep reservations about the SPD’s Russian policy
The invitation is a sign of dissatisfaction with the Russian policy of the Social Democrats – this is the assessment of CDU leader Friedrich Merz. He said the Rhine post, “Obviously, reservations about the SPD’s Russian policy run deep in many Eastern European countries. And I can understand that.” At the same time, Merz criticized kyiv’s decision. He understands Ukrainian President Selensky’s “emotional state of emergency”. “But Frank-Walter Steinmeier is the elected head of state in a democratic country, and his banning is a diplomatic affront,” the party leader said.
reacted strongly Deputy FDP Wolfgang Kubicki“I can’t imagine the chancellor of an FDP-backed government going to a country that declares our country’s head of state an undesirable person,” Kubicki of the German Press Agency said. He has a perfect understanding of the political direction in Ukraine, Kubicki said. The country is fighting for its survival. “But everything has its limits. I don’t think Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was well advised not to reject the offer of such a visit from Germany.”
Green politician Trittin: ‘We expect Ukraine to take this back’
Of Foreign policy spokesman for the Greens in the Bundestag, Jürgen Trittin, asked Ukraine to withdraw its cancellation of a Steinmeier visit. “It doesn’t work like that,” Trittin told Editorial Network Germany. “Declaring the German head of state, who has also just been re-elected, an undesirable person is a great propaganda success for Vladimir Putin.” If you want to divide Europeans, then you have to do it like the Ukrainian president. “We expect Ukraine to take that back.”
the spokesman for the security policy of the Greens in the Bundestag, Sara Nanni, shows understanding: “Only someone who is completely ignorant can be seriously surprised and snubbed by this invitation. You don’t have to like it. But that should surprise no one. Not even Steinmeier himself.”
Of Dietmar Bartsch, leader of the left-wing parliamentary group wrote on Twitter, anyone can criticize Steinmeier. “But: given Putin’s brutal war, in my opinion, it is wrong to snub the German head of state and at the same time make daily demands of Germany.”
Former director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation shows understanding
In the picture-Zeitung also practiced the former boxing world champion Wladimir Klitschko, brother of the mayor of kyiv Vitali Klitschko, critic of the discharge. “I hope that the Federal President’s visit to Kyiv has only been postponed and can be caught up in the coming weeks.”
On the other hand, the former head of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, close to the Greens, was understanding for the Ralf Fuecks. “Instead of reacting offended, we should realize how deep the disappointment and bitterness with German politics runs, not just in Kyiv,” he added. he wrote in reference to Steinmeier on Twitter. Fücks recently traveled to Ukraine with his wife Marieluise Beck, a former Greens member of the Bundestag and a specialist in Eastern Europe.