Friedrich Merz in Poland and Lithuania: praise for the CDU leader

Dhe CDU chairman Friedrich Merz ended his visit to Poland and Lithuania on Friday. In Poland, Merz’s criticism that Germany had not yet compensated for tank deliveries to the Ukraine from its own stocks (“ring exchange”) was received positively. He was “the ideal chancellor for the eastern flank (of NATO),” wrote the newspaper “Rzeczpospolita” on Friday.

Gerhard Gnauck

Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania based in Warsaw.

Words of appreciation also came from those around the governing party PiS. The issue of war reparations, which is important for the PiS, came up several times in Merz’s talks. On Friday, however, PiS boss Jarosław Kaczyński dampened expectations: It could take “an entire generation” to settle this question.

In Lithuania, Merz met Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė on Friday. According to Merz’s delegation, both spoke, as expected, about the Ukraine war. Šimonytė warned that Russia’s leadership could have other strategic goals and must therefore be stopped now. Merz had previously visited soldiers from the Bundeswehr contingent at the Rukla base.

A NATO “battle group” with a total of 1,600 soldiers is stationed there; Germany leads this multinational unit. During a visit in June, Scholz announced the increase to brigade strength. Vilnius announced on Friday that it would supply 10 more M113 armored personnel carriers in addition to 20 M113 armored personnel carriers donated to Ukraine.

Since February, the Republic has provided military aid worth 123 million euros. Meanwhile, there are signs of an escalation in the question of Russian goods transit to Kaliningrad. Several Lithuanian banks have announced that they will stop all transactions with Russia as of September 1st. The Russian chargé d’affaires in Vilnius said he had handed the Lithuanian government a protest note.

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