German president persona non grata in Kiev

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at a press conference during his meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, April 12, 2022.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier wanted to visit Kiev. Because he was not welcome there, he had to give up. † I was ready to go, but apparently it was not wanted in Kiev and I take note of that”he stated Tuesday, April 12 from Warsaw, specifying that the idea of ​​this trip was to “a strong signal of European solidarity with Ukraine” had been suggested to him by his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, and that the presidents of the three Baltic States, Estonian Alar Karis, Latvian Egils Levits and Lithuanian Gitanas Nauseda, would also participate. On Wednesday, the four heads of state took the road to Kiev to meet Volodymyr there Zelenski

The cancellation of this trip for the German president confirmed information from the newspaper Image. In an article published Tuesday under the headline “Steinmeier Banned from Ukraine by Zelensky,” the conservative tabloid quoted a Ukrainian diplomat as explaining why Frank-Walter Steinmeier is persona non grata in his country: “We all know about his close relationship with Russia. He is not welcome in Kiev at the moment. We’ll see if that changes.”

A brutal punch

For Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the punch is brutal. Former Head of the Federal Chancellery under Gerhard Schröder (1998-2005), twice Foreign Minister under Angela Merkel (2005-2009 and then 2013-2017), the German president – who was re-elected in February to a second five-term term of office – has long been classified in the category of Putin Versteher (“those who understand Putin”). A label that has stuck to his skin since his dealings with the former Social Democratic chancellor hired by the Russian giant Gazprom three weeks after he left the government in 2005, but also because of the close relations he has always wanted to maintain. and Moscow during the ten years he led German diplomacy.

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Unlike Angela Merkel, who was also in a rush to account for her policy towards Russia but who for the moment is refusing to speak, Frank-Walter Steinmeier chose to declare, for the first time, on April 4 that he “cheated” about Vladimir Putin. “I didn’t think Putin would lead his country to economic, political and moral ruin in the name of his imperial folly. Like others, I misunderstood myself.he acknowledged that day on the public broadcaster ARD and regretted in particular that he had been a staunch advocate of the controversial Nord Stream 2, this gas pipeline linking Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, symbol of Berlin’s dependence on Moscow. “My support for Nord Stream 2 was clearly a mistake. We clung to a ‘bridge’ that Russia did not believe in and that other partners had warned us about.”said Steinmeier.

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