Germany’s top diplomat dodges question on defensive arms supply to Ukraine

Germany’s top diplomat dodges question on defensive arms supply to Ukraine

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbok shares the view that the task now is to “prevent further escalation” around Ukraine. At the same time, she avoids questions about the possibility of supplying Kyiv with defense weapons.

The latter is implied from an interview with dpa, the text of which is posted on the website of Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ukrinform reports.

The correspondent asked whether Baerbock believes supplying arms for Ukraine’s self-defense was possible, as suggested by  Robert Habeck, co-chair of the Greens (Baerbock is another co-chair of the party), who visited Ukraine in May 2021.

The minister responded as follows: "Both the G7 states and the European Union have made it very clear that further military escalation at the Ukrainian border and, above all, a breach of international law and the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty would have massive political and economic consequences for Russia. If we set out all our options for action, then we have a long list. However, our priority now is to prevent further escalation. That can only be achieved through diplomacy in the Normandy format as well as through the NATO-Russia Council and within the framework of the OSCE."

To the clarifying question, whether she rejects the idea of arms supplies of any kind to Ukraine, Baerbock said: "Further military escalation wouldn’t bring Ukraine greater security.."

Read also: German foreign minister backs deepening of contacts with Ukraine, its rapprochement with EU

In fact, the minister avoided answering questions about Germany's attitude to possible supplies of defense weapons to Ukraine.

At the same time, the top diplomat underscored that the previous federal government together with the U.S. authorities made it clear that "energy should not be used as a weapon and that doing so would have serious consequences." She noted that the last few years had shown the geostrategic role of Nord Stream 2, including in light of the different perceptions in Europe.

The last German Government therefore “conceded that this pipeline also raises security issues,” the minister said, noting that the project is currently undergoing a legal review by the Federal Network Agency.

Baerbock disagreed with an assertion that she and Chancellor Olaf Scholz disagreed on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, saying they simply “described the state of affairs in different ways.”

She also stressed that the strength of German foreign policy lies in the close coordination between the Chancellor's Office and the Foreign Ministry, as well as with the Ministries of Economy and Interior and other institutions, which ultimately “speak with one voice,” despite possible differences.

Read also: Reznikov: Ukraine to receive mobile field hospital from Germany in January

Baerbock also confirmed plans to meet with Russian Minister Sergei Lavrov in the near future, noting that in the current very tense situation, it is important for her to cultivate close contacts with the Russian side.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck, who visited Ukraine earlier this year as co-chair of the Greens, said that Ukraine, which is suffering from Russian aggression, deserves Germany's protection. Over this remark, he came under a barrage of criticism, including from fellow party members. Later, the party leadership explained that Habeck implied assistance in demining, supply of vehicles for battlefield evacuation, and so on.

Earlier, Bild reported that Germany had been applying NATO mechanisms since May 2021 to block other Allies from supplying Ukraine with weapons for self-defense.

Photo: dpa


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