Debate in the Bundestag: a clear warning to Russia

To: 01/14/2022 17:28

The conflict with Russia was also discussed in the Bundestag: Defense Minister Lambrecht warned of the consequences of an attack on Ukraine. But she left out a sensitive issue.

By Kai Küstner, ARD Studio Berlin

This week, it was time for diplomacy. It was many hours of diplomacy, to be precise: the United States, NATO and the OSCE sat down with envoys from Moscow in many sometimes nerve-wracking meetings. But the danger of a Russian invasion of Ukraine does not seem to have been ruled out.

“The Russian attack has consequences”

The German government is also alarmed: “Each Russian attack against Ukraine will have consequences”. The new Minister of Defense issued this clear warning to Russia. And Christine Lambrecht also underlined in her speech to the Bundestag: “The Russian deployment on the Ukrainian border violates all the rules of peaceful coexistence”.

In view of the threatening situation, the SPD politician obviously did not want to be accused of sounding too soft. After all, his party is often criticized for being too accommodating to Moscow.

Greens: “We must not let ourselves be offered”

However, the coalition partner of the Greens is a bit sharper: “If the autocrats want to push their geopolitical power interests with human rights abuses, with military aggression and with extortion we see it from the leadership of the Kremlin in Ukraine, so it’s not in our interest, we can still bear it,” said Agnieszka Brugger, a Green Party advocacy politician.

Nord Stream 2 remains a controversial topic

The Minister was quite clear in her tone – but is she the same on the subject? Lambrecht did not address the sensitive issue of Nord Stream 2 in his speech. From his party, the SPD, there have recently been voices that the pipeline should not be confused with the Ukrainian conflict – from General Secretary Kevin Kühnert, for example.

The Greens, on the other hand, openly question Nord Stream 2 because of the Putin threat. The Left Party criticizes the many voices of the government: “Whoever acts so inconsistently and inconsistently should not be surprised that they are not the first to talk to,” says left-wing politician Ali Al-Dailami.

Talks without the Europeans

He raised another sensitive issue for Germany and Europe: the fact that Putin preferred direct talks with the United States – without Europeans around the table – and obtained them. The federal government is now trying to play down the impression that the fate of Germany and the EU was being negotiated over their heads. “At the NATO-Russia Council – which finally took place again – at the OSCE, wherever the talks are taking place, we Europeans have a strong voice,” said Minister Lambrecht.

EU critics charge that this European voice is neither unanimous nor backed by military force and that is precisely why it is often ignored.

Russia’s demands unanimously rejected

Noteworthy in the Bundestag debate: The attempt to show unity within the traffic light coalition. Lambrecht and Defense Committee Chair Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP) unanimously rejected Russia’s demands that NATO should exclude Ukraine’s admission, for example: “Mr. Putin, the European security structure is not negotiable. Each country decides for itself what cooperation seeks.” So Strack-zimmermann to the address of the Russian President.

It is also clear that the federal government – as well as NATO and the EU – is counting on further talks at the end of the round of talks: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will visit Kyiv and Moscow on Tuesday. But whether the thread of conversation that has been so much relied on will in fact be wound up or will suddenly break, will probably ultimately be decided in Moscow.

Warning instead of green light – after talks with Russia

Kai Küstner, ARD Berlin, 14.1.2022 16:55

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