Monday May 23, 2022

Germany reaffirms support for Ukraine after navy chief controversy

Published : 24 Jan 2022, 22:02

  DF News Desk

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. File Photo: Michael Sohn/Pool AP/dpa.

Germany's foreign minister has reaffirmed Berlin's support for Ukraine as questions swirl about the country's approach to the huge military build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine's border, reported dpa.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock delivered a message of unity at an EU foreign affairs meeting in Brussels, even as critics said Berlin must show tougher resolve in the face of the Russian threat.

"Every form of aggression from the Russian government will have a clear stance and clear answer from us together as Europeans, together with the Americans within the structures of NATO," she said.

Her comments came after Kay-Achim Schönbach, Germany's top naval official, caused a scandal by saying at an event in India that Putin deserved "respect" and that the Crimean Peninsula "will never come back" to Ukraine.

The remarks incensed Kiev, raised eyebrows among Berlin's allies, and ultimately led to Schönbach's resignation on Saturday.

Frustrations with Germany also stem from government's refusal to send further military aid to Kiev, unlike the United States and Britain.

Berlin is also perceived as being reticent to prepare harsh sanctions on Russia out of deference to the impact on the Germany industry.

Like other European governments, Germany is troubled by the economic costs of sanctions on Russia amid soaring energy prices.

In an interview with the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for "prudence" in drafting the sanctions.

Scholz added that no one should be under any illusion that sanctions will not impact Germany and the EU.