War in Ukraine: Zelensky does not want to meet with the German president but waits for the chancellor

From Warsaw, where he met on Tuesday with the Polish head of state andrzej doubtgerman president Frank Walter Steinmeier wanted to go to kyiv on Wednesday with delegations from Poland and the Baltic countries to “send a strong signal of European solidarity with Ukraine “according to the Bild newspaper website.

But Angela Merkel’s former Social Democratic (SPD) foreign minister is persona non grata on Ukrainian soil. “We all know of 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. A bit humiliating for the German president. “A useless insult,” according to the editorialist of the Spiegel.

Steinmeier had made his mea culpa

In recent weeks, Frank-Walter Steinmeier has come under fire, as has the former conservative chancellor, for his perceived lack of firmness towards Russia. He admitted in early April that he had made a “mistake” in supporting the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipelinebetween Russia and Germany.

“My Nord Stream 2 membership was clearly a mistake. We were clinging to bridges that Russia no longer believed in and that our partners had warned us about,” the president said, according to comments picked up by German media.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier predicted that “Vladimir Putin would not accept the economic, political and moral ruin of his country by his imperial folly.” “Like others, I was wrong,” he concluded. The pipeline that was supposed to double Germany’s Russian gas supply capacity has finally been suspended sine die by Berlin in February.

Volodymyr Zelensky had already made more than disparaging remarks in front of the German chancellor. At the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008, Germany spoke out against launching the accession process for Ukraine and Georgia, a position shared by President Sarkozy, believing that they were not sufficiently stable democracies. A few days ago, the Ukrainian suggested that the two go to Boutcha, a town northwest of kyiv recently taken over by the Ukrainians. where many civilians were killed.

Olaf Scholz evasive about handing over heavy weapons

the current chancellor Olaf Scholz it is also under pressure from its coalition partners. It is the Greens, traditionally very pacifist, who insist the most. After the head of diplomacy, Annalena Baerbock, her ecologist colleague Robert Habeck, Minister of the Economy, urged the chancellor to act. “Anything that can help the Ukrainian military must now be sent quickly,” she urged Tuesday.

“It would be important for the head of government to come to kyiv,” Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin Andrij Melnyk said Tuesday night on German channels Sat.1 and ProSieben, provided he does not arrive empty-handed, as Boris Johnson, who undertook to supply armored vehicles and missiles. to Ukraine

But Olaf Scholz has been noncommittal for days about handing over heavy weapons, drawing growing annoyance even from most. Berlin had previously been reluctant to supply defensive weapons, before a sea change when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

logistical difficulties

Technical and logistical difficulties remain to be resolved. Germany has exhausted the possibilities of resorting to its army reserves, in a state of notorious lack of equipment, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht explained this weekend.

Various arms groups, such as Rheinmetall, have offered to make new or used tanks available, sometimes with significant delays. Liberal Party MP Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann also warned against sending vehicles that require training before they can be used, such as the Marder-type tanks requested by Ukraine. “Soldiers have to get them under control, otherwise they will really become cannon fodder,” she warned.

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