A statement by the Foreign Minister at the Council of Europe caused irritation and was used in Russia for war propaganda. The federal government sees the statement taken out of context.
After a controversial statement by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, the federal government has emphasized that Germany is not a party to the war in Ukraine. “NATO and Germany are not warring parties in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” said deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann on Friday in Berlin. “We support Ukraine, but we are not a party to the war.” Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) also emphasized with regard to the recent decision to deliver Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine that this does not make Germany a party to the war.
Baerbock (Greens) called on Tuesday at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg for the cohesion of the western allies with the following words: “We are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.” The Russian state media gratefully took up this statement as a central key phrase for war propaganda – as proof that Germany and the other EU countries are direct conflict parties in Ukraine and are fighting against Russia.
A spokesman for the Federal Foreign Office said in Berlin that the longer discussion in which the statement was made was about underlining that the EU, the G7 countries and NATO are united against the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. “Russian propaganda keeps taking statements, sentences, attitudes, positions of the federal government, our partners, and twisting them in such a way that it serves their purpose. In my opinion, it makes no sense to go into that here now,” said the spokesman. “Whoever is escalating here is Russia.” In the sense of international law, Germany is not a party to a conflict. “In this context, the Foreign Minister must be understood,” said the spokesman.
The German embassy in Moscow also supported this position: “Supporting Ukraine with material to exercise its individual right of self-defense against Russia’s illegal war of aggression, which is enshrined in the UN Charter, does not make Germany a party to the conflict.”
The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, had demanded a statement from the German ambassador in Moscow on “contradictory” statements from Berlin on Friday. On the one hand, Germany declares that it is not a party to the conflict in Ukraine. On the other hand, Baerbock says that the countries of Europe are at war with Russia. “Do you understand what you’re talking about?” Zakharova wrote on the Telegram news channel.
Sharp criticism from the opposition
CSU General Secretary Martin Huber said: “Annalena Baerbock is a massive security risk for our country.” Anyone who talks about German participation in the war is talking Germany into a war. The head of the CSU state group in the Bundestag, Alexander Dobrindt, demanded in the “Welt am Sonntag” that Baerbock should urgently “correct” her statement personally. “That is a serious misjudgment for a foreign minister. We are not waging war against Russia, we support Ukraine’s right to self-defense against Putin’s war of aggression,” he said.
AfD co-boss Tino Chrupalla called for Baerbock’s dismissal. “The Federal Foreign Minister is jeopardizing Germany’s existence with her unprofessional and cheeky behavior,” he said, according to a statement. There was also harsh criticism of Baerbock and her statements on social networks.
On Wednesday evening on ZDF, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) answered the question of whether Germany and its allies were not taking part in the war with the tank deliveries that had now been decided: “No, absolutely not. He added: “There must be no war between give to Russia and NATO.”
Pistorius told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” with regard to the Leopard decision: “We are on the safe side under international law, that’s what all the experts tell us. This delivery will not make us a war party.” But one also knows that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not particularly interested” in international law. “We are not an active war party. It will stay that way,” he assured. He was not asked about Baerbock’s statement in the interview published online on Friday evening.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.