Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned of possible domestic political consequences of a gas supply freeze – but then described her statement as a deliberate exaggeration. The Greens politician emphasized the need for Russian gas supplies on Wednesday evening in Hanover at the “RND on site” series of events organized by the Germany editorial network.
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Baerbock’s statement related to talks with Canada, where a gas turbine for the Nord Stream 1 pipeline was being serviced. She is now on her way back to Russia.
The talks were about compliance with sanctions against Russia in the war of aggression against Ukraine. Because of the punitive measures, the manufacturer Siemens Energy was not allowed to deliver the turbine back to Russia. This required a special permit from the Canadian government.
“If we don’t get the gas turbine, then we won’t get any more gas, and then we can’t provide any more support for Ukraine because we’re then busy with popular uprisings,” said Baerbock, reconstructing the negotiations with Canada in the RND interview. She also addressed the burden of high gas prices on the population.
Even if her sentence was “a bit exaggerated”, you still need gas from Russia, said Baerbock. “It is the task of the federal government to cushion social skills,” she continued.
When asked how she meant her statements, Baerbock said on Thursday during a visit to Barleben in Saxony-Anhalt: “I deliberately formulated it very pointedly.”
She wanted to explain why Germany was against a complete embargo on gas and oil from Russia, while others were in favor of such an embargo as a consequence of the Russian attack on Ukraine.
In such a case, people would have had to be told “from one day to the next” that there was no more gas and that there were no alternatives, said Baerbock. “Obviously we didn’t think that was the right, safe way.”
Despite this, the Foreign Minister was convinced that Germany would continue to be willing to help Ukraine. “I experience a solidarity in this country that is unimaginable,” she said at the RND event.
After the maintenance of Nord Stream 1, the gas supply through the German-Russian gas pipeline resumed on Thursday morning. Nord Stream then officially announced in the morning that they had “successfully completed all planned maintenance work within the planned period”.
In addition, Baerbock was irritated by statements by Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) on the Ukraine war. Baerbock said Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had decided to launch a war that violates international law, which harms not only the Ukrainian people but also the Russian people. “We are not dealing with a rational government here.”
Baerbock continued: “The statements surprise me somewhat, because neither the German federal government nor any other country in Europe ever wanted to have war on this continent again.”
On Tuesday, Kretschmer demanded that a joint attempt be made to “influence” Putin.
Baerbock pointed out that Germany and numerous other countries have repeatedly tried to stay in touch with Russia. “A Prime Minister says, ‘Just talk,’ even though the Chancellor has called the Russian President several times and the UN Secretary General was in Moscow,” she criticized.