NAfter an interview with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in which he spoke out against the demolition of the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, there was unusual criticism. The Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin, Andrij Melnyk, wrote in a message: “ The statements made by Federal President Steinmeier hit us Ukrainians deeply.” Steinmeier triggered “alienation and outrage” in the Ukrainian capital Kiev with “questionable historical arguments”. In Bellevue Palace it was said: “
The accusation is met with a complete lack of understanding in the Federal President’s office.”
At the end of a lengthy conversation with the Rheinische Post, Steinmeier had expressed himself critically about the arrest and conviction of the Russian opposition politician Alexej Navalnyj and said that it had “nothing to do with the rule of law”. Navalnyj must “be released immediately and without preconditions”. However, one needs to “keep an eye on the bigger picture of EU-Russia relations”.
The n the Federal President was asked about Nord Stream 2. The energy relations are “almost the last bridge between Russia and Europe,” Steinmeier said. Both sides would have to worry about “whether this bridge will be completely and without replacement” demolished. Breaking bridges is “not a sign of strength”.
Subsequently, however, the president used a reference to German history as an argument for his energy policy line. He pointed out that Germany must keep an eye on the historical dimension and recalled the German attack on the Soviet Union in World War II, which took place on June 22nd for the 80th time. “More than 20 million people in the former Soviet Union fell victim to the war. That does not justify any misconduct in Russian politics today, but we must not lose sight of the bigger picture, ”said Steinmeier.
“Hit deep in the heart”: Andrij Melnyk, Ambassador of Ukraine in Germany (archive photo)
Melnyk accuses the Federal President of not having explicitly mentioned the many millions of victims of the Nazi dictatorship in Ukraine in this context. That is “a dangerous twist of history”.
Steinmeier had not explicitly mentioned the Ukrainian or Belarusian victims, but probably wanted to include them by referring to the “Soviet Union”, since Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union at the time. In the presidential office it was only said: “ The text of the interview speaks for itself.” In Ukraine, the construction of a direct gas pipeline from Russia to Germany is viewed very critically because it would bypass the passage through Ukraine.