The Chancellor does not want to change his mind. “I stand for serious politics,” says Olaf Scholz on Monday evening in an RTL talk where he meets four citizens. A Ukrainian woman has just asked him why, almost three months after the start of the Russian war of aggression, he still hasn’t gone to Kyiv. “When you visit the site, it must be important that something is specifically promoted and not just a photo opportunity,” says Scholz. He often spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the phone. “Ten or eleven hours,” defends the SPD politician.
A financial service provider steps between them. “It can’t be that you, as Federal Chancellor, underestimate the symbolism of these pictures,” he says. Scholz has to go to Kyiv “as soon as possible”. Scholz counters: “I will not join a group of people who do something for a short in and out and a photo shoot.”
The travel plans of the federal government have been a political issue for weeks. After Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was unloaded, Scholz no longer wanted. Even in the traffic light coalition, the chancellor’s performance behind closed doors is considered unfortunate. After clarifying talks between Steinmeier and Selenskyj, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) traveled to Kyiv last week – long after high-ranking representatives from other EU countries and the USA were there.
Criticism of Scholz is getting louder in political Berlin. Roderich Kiesewetter talks himself into a rage on the phone. The CDU foreign and security politician says he elected Scholz as chancellor in December. Now Kiesewetter is disappointed: “He disavowed the parliament and the members of parliament as well as the foreign minister who were already in Ukraine.” That’s not improving Scholz’s reputation in Eastern Europe, says Kiesewetter, who was in Kyiv two weeks ago with CDU leader Friedrich Merz.
“I gain extremely important insights for my work from the twelve hours on site,” says Kiesewetter. He underestimated the Ukrainians’ will to defend and rebuild and only understood that after the visits to Irpin and Kyiv. It was also not clear to him before his visit that Selenskyj was supported by almost all parties. Kieswetter considers the argument that Scholz only wants to travel to Kyiv when he has something concrete to announce to be misleading. “Scholz could actually do something, but he doesn’t have the will to take a clear position,” criticized Kiesewetter.
The Greens, who have been vehemently in favor of heavy weapons for Ukraine for weeks, will practice diplomacy on Tuesday. “It was a very important signal that Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was in Ukraine and got an idea of the situation on the ground,” says Britta Haßelmann, leader of the Greens in the Bundestag.
Baerbock also met with representatives of civil society and Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko on site. This was symbolically a very important visit, as the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba confirmed during his visit to Berlin last week, said Hasselmann. It’s a critique of gang. She says nothing to Scholz. Felix Hackenbruch