Putin’s war with Ukraine: 3 days that changed the course of Germany by 180 degrees | Germany | DW

Putin’s war with Ukraine: 3 days that changed the course of Germany by 180 degrees |  Germany |  DW

February 27 will be considered a turning point for Germany. The war between Russia and Ukraine, which began on February 24, forced the coalition government of Germany to make a fundamental change not only in foreign and energy policy, but also in security policy. The coalition government presented the main changes at a special meeting of the Bundestag. Opening the meeting on Sunday, Bundestag President Bärbel Bas welcomed former German President Joachim Gauck, who was present at the meeting, as well as specially invited Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk. The deputies greeted him with a long standing ovation, and Gauk hugged Melnik. “We saw this war coming, but we couldn’t prevent it,” Bas admitted, urging the war to be stopped as soon as possible, “because every war knows only losers.”

Scholz: “This is Putin’s war” against Ukraine

Then the floor was given to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who represents the Social Democrats in the ruling coalition. Scholz called the war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine “a change of era.” The correction of Berlin’s political course announced by him was also epochal – and not only because the head of the German government confirmed the adoption of a whole package of tough sanctions against Russia. The countries of the Western world intend to cut off Russian banks from financing, start searching for and freezing the assets of Russian oligarchs, limit the issuance of visas to Russian officials and close access to the SWIFT financial system, the German Chancellor outlined the main restrictions to the applause of the Bundestag. “War is a disaster for Ukraine, but it will be a disaster for Russia as well,” Scholz concluded.

Former German President Joachim Gauck hugs Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk

In addition to sanctions, Scholz marked Germany’s departure from the principle of not sending weapons to crisis regions, a principle that Berlin had adhered to for more than half a century due to its historical responsibility for war crimes in World War II. The beginning of the supply of weapons from Germany to Ukraine, the chancellor stressed, is the only possible response to Russia’s aggression. The new reality requires new answers, and Germany is ready to give them, the German Chancellor stressed.

100 billion for the Bundeswehr, new LNG terminals

Another fundamental change is connected with the decision of Berlin to sharply increase funding for the strengthening and re-equipment of the Bundeswehr. The government proposed the creation of a special financial fund for the Bundeswehr, for which in 2022 the authorities will allocate a one-time tranche of 100 billion euros from the federal budget. The chancellor called for a provision on a special fund for the Bundeswehr to be included in the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Friedrich Merz called Vladimir Putin a war criminal, February 27, 2022

Friedrich Merz called Vladimir Putin a “war criminal”

Germany also pledged to deliver on a long-standing contention within the NATO alliance to increase defense spending above the NATO target of two percent of the country’s GDP by 2024. “I would like to add that we are doing this not because we promised our allies, but because we are doing it for us, for our own security,” added Olaf Scholz.

Finally, another fundamental change in the report of the German government presented on February 27 is the announcement of the acceleration of the previously taken course towards the transition to a climate-neutral economy and the rejection of traditional energy sources in favor of renewable ones. “The more we promote the development of alternative energy sources, the better,” the chancellor said. He promised to reconsider dependence on individual suppliers. “Events have shown that our energy policy is not only a matter of climate, but also of security,” Scholz added. To reduce dependence on Russian gas, Germany announced the creation of strategic energy reserves and the construction of two new LNG terminals – in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven.

“Putin’s war” is forcing Berlin to start a “new foreign policy” and no longer be “naive,” Scholz added. “Both sides must be ready for dialogue. Putin has not been ready for this for a long time, not only in recent days,” the German leader stated. This does not mean that Germany will refuse to “talk with Russia”, but “we will not agree with violence as a way of politics. We will not rest until peace is ensured in Europe. And we are not alone in this,” the German Chancellor concluded.

The chancellor’s key statements, including his words of support for Ukrainians and those Russians who criticize the actions of the authorities and oppose the war unleashed by the Kremlin, were met with thunderous applause from deputies of all factions, with the exception of the opposition from the Alternative for Germany, which had previously regularly occupied pro-Kremlin positions.

Burbock promises help to refugees from Ukraine

The plan of the government promised to support the opposition faction of the CDU / CSU, which was recently part of the ruling coalition. Following Scholz, CDU chairman Friedrich Merz expressed “admiration and respect for President Vladimir Zelensky. To insult this courageous man from a Jewish family and call him a neo-Nazi and a drug addict, as the Russian president did, shows the scope of meanness and contempt for a person , which we haven’t seen in Europe for decades,” said Merz.

The leader of the Christian Democrats placed the responsibility for the war against Ukraine personally on Russian President Vladimir Putin. “From a pure democrat, which he never was, he turned into a war criminal,” said Friedrich Merz. The leader of the opposition in the Bundestag addressed the Russian leader directly: “President Putin, you have never been threatened by NATO, and you know it.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock at a meeting in the Bundestag on February 27

German Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock

The world has changed after Putin’s attack on Ukraine, and Germany is “stricken, but we are not helpless. And we will not leave you alone,” Annalena Baerbock, German Foreign Minister and spokeswoman for the Greens in the German government, assured the Ukrainians. . She proclaimed a 180-degree turn in Berlin’s foreign policy. She added that “no sanctions can stop this madness. If such sanctions existed, we would impose them.” But, the head of the German Foreign Ministry added, punitive measures from the West would destroy Putin’s system “in the medium and long term.” To the applause of the Bundestag, Burbock also promised “not to leave those Ukrainians who are forced to flee in trouble.”

AfD accuses Scholz of “reactivating the Cold War”

Common to all deputies was the condemnation of Russian aggression, including even deputies from the right-wing populist AfD faction. However, AfD co-chair Alice Weidel placed some of the responsibility for the war in Ukraine on Western countries, while second co-chair Tino Chrupalla directly accused Scholz of “reactivating the Cold War,” a statement that was greeted with a loud roar of indignation from the majority of parliamentarians.

Amira Mohamed Ali, a spokeswoman for the Left Party who, along with the AfD, regularly defends the actions of Vladimir Putin and his entourage, also issued a strong condemnation of the Kremlin’s policies. There is no justification for this war, and the party was wrong, Ali said. “We did not consider it possible, I will speak for myself and for my party colleagues. We did not expect. We misjudged the intentions of the Russian leadership. This makes us think. Putin is an aggressor whose megalomania should not become a reality. We strongly stand on the side of Ukraine ” Ali said. The “Left Party” opposed the supply of weapons to Ukraine, but for the provision of humanitarian assistance and for the imposition of such sanctions that would not hit ordinary citizens in Russia.

Germany will bet on the “energy of freedom”

Just as the speech of Olaf Scholz has every chance of going down in history, so did the phrase of the head of the Ministry of Finance, Christian Lindner, who spoke later, about the “energy of freedom.” The war in Europe that began on February 24, he said, “is the end of all hopes for peace and the end of all illusions about Putin’s Russia.” The sanctions against the Russian leadership are designed to last, and Berlin has the necessary restraint, Lindner said. He called energy security a new priority for Berlin. “We will not bet on solutions from the past. Renewable sources not only help provide us with energy, they will free us from addiction, so they are the energy of freedom. We are betting on the energy of freedom,” Lindner concluded.

And ended Sunday’s meeting of the Bundestag, which lasted more than three hours, the deputy from the Social Democrats Frank Schwabe (Frank Schwabe) phrase “Glory to Ukraine.”

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