Steinmeier scandal: Klingbeil’s power speech after SPD dispute over Ukrainian ambassador Melnyk

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By: Astrid Theil


Lars Klingbeil, chairman of the SPD party, makes a press statement on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. (Archive) © Wolfgang Kumm / dpa

Former Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel accuses Ukraine of “untrue and evil” accusations and defends German foreign policy. Ambassador Andriy Melnyk counterattacked immediately.

  • President Steinmeier has uninvited Ukraine.
  • Then a heated exchange of blows erupted – most notably Ukrainian Ambassador Melnyk.
  • SPD leader Klingbeil is now trying to say a word of power.

Update from April 19, 17:45: “Everyone should focus on what is really at stake,” SPD leader Lars Klingbeil reacted on Tuesday to the sometimes heated debate over Ukrainian ambassador Melnyk following the Steinmeier scandal. picture. Klingbeil continues: “People are dying every day in Ukraine. And responsible for this is Russian President Putin, a war criminal who is further intensifying his brutal war of aggression in the east of the country. Our focus is on supporting Ukraine. “Everything else is secondary and completely unnecessary.” Klingbeil avoided naming names in his statement. But his statement should probably protect his party from getting lost in the dispute with Ambassador Melnyk. Some SPD politicians had previously criticized the ambassador, some harshly, for his words to Sigmar Gabriel and Steinmeier.

Update from April 18, at 10:30: Andriy Melnyk refuses to accept the accusation that his judgments about German foreign policy under Frank-Walter Steinmeier were “untrue and evil.” The Ukrainian ambassador opposed that of Sigmar Gabriel through OVERVIEWthe column threw criticism on Twitter, also taking the former Minister of Economy and Foreign Affairs and Deputy Chancellor. In his address he writes: “Above all, the long friendly policy towards Putin and Gabriel and his” SPD friends “is malicious, that is,” the barbaric war of annihilation against the Ukrainian state, the Ukrainian nation, the Ukrainian culture, against the Ukrainians. ” only women and children were brought ”. Melnyk concludes with the words: “Elaboration is yet to come. Shame on you.”

First report from 17 April

Berlin – After a visit by federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Ukraine was rejected by the leadership in Kiev *, former Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) is now defending the Federal President. In a guest post for OVERVIEW Gabriel writes that the criticism of Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk * that Steinmeier had “wet the spider web of contacts with Russia for decades” during his active time as Foreign Minister was “untrue and malicious”.

Gabriel describes this presentation as “a conspiracy theory for the politics of our country and its leaders”. This also includes the claim that Steinmeier, his successors in office and the Federal Chancellor “had acted almost without presumption to dismantle the sanctions imposed after the Russian annexation of Crimea”. Gabriel points out that Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in his post as Foreign Minister at the time, along with Angela Merkel, “did more than anyone else in Europe to support Ukraine.”

Gabriel for Steinmeier: “More money mobilized for support than any other EU member state”

In support of this statement, the former vice-chancellor lists a large number of examples in his guest contribution. As foreign minister, Steinmeier “mobilized more money from the German federal budget to support Ukraine than any other EU member state. “And this despite the fact that Ukraine was characterized by a rampant corruption until the war of Russian aggression.” Pressure from Germany * also made it possible to ensure that the Ukrainian anti-corruption authority was not disbanded. Gabriel names Ukrainian President Zelensky himself as a key witness because he owes his office to “the anger and frustration of Ukrainian citizens for their corrupt political and economic elites.”

Gabriel not only explicitly criticizes Ukrainian Ambassador Melnyk, but also Selensky. The fact that the Minsk agreements to establish a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine were never actually observed, “is definitely not due to Frank-Walter Steinmeier or the defending states of Germany and France.” “Ukraine’s political representatives never developed anything like ‘ownership’ of the Minsk agreements, which in turn the Russian leadership used to evade their responsibility to implement the agreements,” Gabriel said.

Diplomatic insult to Steinmeier: part of Ukraine’s domestic policy?

The former foreign minister sees the diplomatic insult in the context of the Federal President’s order in a domestic political context. Massive criticism of the Ukrainian president affects not only Steinmeier, but also former Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and his predecessor Petro Poroshenko. “Everyone stands for the Minsk agreements, which provided for a kind of partial regional autonomy while preserving Ukrainian citizenship as a way to peacefully resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine,” Gabriel said.

However, the Minsk agreements are highly controversial in Ukraine and part of an internal political dispute *. “So what is perceived in this country as a foreign policy disagreement over Germany’s previous policy towards Russia is in fact at least part of the domestic political opinion battle in Ukraine,” Gabriel concludes. In his view, German policy is not “reluctant” or “friendly to Russia”, but is being considered in relation to the war in Ukraine *.

Background: A visit by the German head of state to Ukraine has been rejected by the leadership in Kiev. A joint visit with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda and the heads of state of the Baltic states is apparently “not desirable” in Kiev, the Federal President said on Tuesday (April 12th) during a visit to Warsaw. (at) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA

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