German president says Kyiv did not want him to visit
12:38 JST, April 13, 2022
BERLIN (Reuters) – A planned visit to Kyiv by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was not welcomed by Ukraine, he said on Tuesday, following a report that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was critical of Steinmeier’s historic advocacy of Western rapprochement with Russia.
Steinmeier had planned to visit Kyiv with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda and the presidents of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia “to send a strong signal of European solidarity with Ukraine there,” he told journalists during a visit to Warsaw.
“I was ready for that. But apparently – and I have to admit – that was not wanted in Kyiv,” he said, without elaborating.
It was not immediately clear whether the other European leaders would visit without Steinmeier. Ukrainian authorities could not immediately be reached for comment.
Bild newspaper reported earlier on Tuesday that Zelenskiy had rejected Steinmeier’s plans to visit due to his close relations with Russia in recent years and his years of support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a project designed to double the flow of Russian gas direct to Germany but which has since been cancelled.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a social media backlash tweeting past pictures of Steinmeier affectionately embracing Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the president expressed regret for his earlier stance.
He said his years of support for Nord Stream 2 had been clearly a mistake.
Asked for comment on Steinmeier’s remarks, a German government spokesperson said, “Germany was and is one of the most determined supporters of Ukraine. … And it will stay that way.
“The federal president takes a clear and unequivocal position on the side of Ukraine,” the spokesperson added.
Steinmeier, a Social Democrat who served as foreign minister under Chancellor Angela Merkel before being elevated to the presidency, had known Russian President Vladimir Putin since 2001.
A speech that Putin held at Germany’s lower house of parliament in 2001, speaking German to lawmakers, gave Steinmeier hope for better relations between Moscow and Berlin, he told Spiegel magazine in an interview published earlier on Tuesday.
“That Putin from the year 2001 has nothing in common with the Putin of 2022, who we are now experiencing as a brutal, entrenched warmonger,” Steinmeier said.
"News Services" POPULAR ARTICLE
At Japan Airlines, Bankruptcy Helped Lay Groundwork for First Female Boss
Taylor Swift Launches Legal Broadside at a College Student Who Tracks Private Jets Via Public Data
Unofficial Indonesia Election Vote Count Points to First Round Prabowo Win
World Court Orders Israel to Take Measures to Prevent and Punish Incitement of Genocide in Gaza (Update 1)
North Korea Scraps All Economic Cooperation with South Korea
JN ACCESS RANKING
- Japan Business Delegation, Chinese Premier Li Meet; Both Sides Tout Importance of Bilateral Economic Ties
- Japan Eyes 45 B. Yen in Aid for Optical Semiconductors
- Japan’s Job Availability Ratio Rises for 2nd Straight Year
- North Korean Workers in China Riot over Unpaid Wages; 2,000 Occupy Factory, Kill Plant Manager
- Business, Labor Leaders Reaffirm Vow to Raise Wages in Shunto Talks