German president says Kyiv did not want him to visit
The planned visit of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German President, to Kyiv was not received by Ukraine. This was after a report that Volodymyr Zelenskiy had criticized Steinmeier’s historical advocacy for Western rapprochement.
Steinmeier, his Polish counterpart Andrzej Dza and the presidents from Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia had intended to visit Kyiv together. He told journalists during a trip to Warsaw that they were trying to send “a strong signal of European solidarity to Ukraine”.
“I was prepared for that. He said that he was not ready for it, but he did not elaborate.
It was unclear if Steinmeier would be joined by other European leaders. The Ukrainian authorities were not immediately available for comment.
Bild newspaper reported Tuesday that Zelenskiy rejected Steinmeier’s plans to visit because of his close relations to Russia in recent years. He also supported the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which was designed to double the flow from Russian gas directly to Germany. However, this project has since been abandoned.
The president regretted his previous stance after Russia invaded Ukraine.
He stated that his support for Nord Stream 2 was clearly a mistake after years of it being supported.
A spokesperson for the German government said that Germany was and will continue to be a strong supporter of Ukraine. It will remain that way.
The spokesperson stated that “the federal president takes an unambiguous position on the side of Ukraine.”
Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, was the foreign minister under Chancellor Angela Merkel, before being elevated to the presidency. He had known Russian President Vladimir Putin since 2001.
In an interview with Spiegel magazine, Steinmeier said that Putin’s speech at Germany’s lower chamber of parliament in 2001 gave him hope for better relations between Moscow, Berlin and the United States. He spoke German to the lawmakers.
Steinmeier stated that Putin from 2001 had nothing in common with Putin of 2022 who is now a brutal, entrenched warlord.