The Germans were unhappy that the president was not welcome in Kyiv

German politics today reacted with a mixture of anger and misunderstanding to Ukraine’s refusal to receive German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Zelensky himself said tonight that Steinmeier had never officially visited him without going further into the matter.

German Chancellor Scholz, who was explicitly invited to come to Kyiv, will not comment on this for now. He called Steinmeier’s refusal “a little irritating to say the least”. The parties in the Bundestag speak of insult and disappointment. They vehemently reject the “exchange” between Steinmeier who is not welcome and Scholz who is.

The Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin reiterated this morning that Scholz would greet Zelensky, especially if he promised to deliver heavy weapons. Scholz has so far been reticent on the issue, unlike his coalition partners the FPD and the Greens.

Five presidents

Steinmeier, along with Polish President Duda and their counterparts from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, wanted to show support for Ukraine in Kiev. But the Ukrainian government, according to Steinmeier, has made it clear that his arrival is not wanted.

According to Picture, relying on an anonymous Ukrainian diplomat, President Zelensky himself would decide that Steinmeier does not have to come because of his close ties with Russia in recent years.

The chairman of the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee, Michael Roth (SPD), traveled to Ukraine yesterday with colleagues from the other two coalition parties – they were welcome. Roth says the German president was told only after Steinmeier was already in Poland. From there he will travel to Kyiv. “It’s important to stay in touch, but I’m very disappointed,” Roth said. – That is not justified to our president either.

“sincere words”

Steinmeier, the foreign minister in Merkel’s third cabinet, maintained good contacts with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. To the very end, it defended the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. Also, Steinmeier would not sit well in Ukraine because, while he was still the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he proposed that the pro-Russian regions in eastern Ukraine be given self-government, in order to alleviate the stopped conflict in Donbas.

Last week, Steinmeier admitted that Germany should have taken the warnings about Moscow seriously earlier, especially after 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and began an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. He admitted that it was “obviously wrong” to stick to the controversial pipeline. The Ukrainian foreign minister then said he appreciated Steinmeier’s “sincere words”.

Criticism of Steinmeier does not come entirely from the blue. Earlier this month, Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin had already lashed out at the German president over his relations with Moscow. He also felt that other prominent politicians – such as Chancellor Scholz – had maintained too close ties with Russia. Scholz called Kyiv.

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