The sabers and the diplomats: the SPD and its Ukraine course – politics

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil has rejected the accusation that his party’s position in the Ukraine conflict was ambiguous. “We’re completely clear on that,” said Klingbeil on Monday before deliberations on the SPD’s Russia policy. The escalation comes from Russia, emphasized the SPD co-chairman on ARD. It is made very clear “that all options are on the table should Russia now attack Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” said Klingbeil, referring to possible sanctions. The party had previously called for a stronger emphasis on the policy of détente on the one hand and the desire for clearer signals towards Moscow on the other. In addition, former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) accused Ukraine of “saber rattling”.

“Many can express themselves, but as the current SPD leadership, we make decisions together with Chancellor Olaf Scholz,” said Klingbeil, but avoided direct criticism of Schröder. Diplomatic efforts are now in the foreground. “It’s about the question of how we can avert war in the middle of Europe,” said Klingbeil. He “doesn’t want us now to get into a situation through threats, through actions, in which a war situation might unintentionally arise in the middle of Europe”. The federal government is acting as one. The SPD leadership also has “full support” for Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens).

The former party leader Schröder should “not let his historical achievements fade into the background,” appealed the SPD member of the Bundestag and Russia rapporteur in the Council of Europe, Axel Schäfer. When asked by Schröder about the Ukrainian saber rattling, Schäfer said Süddeutsche Zeitung: “That is Gerhard Schröder’s private opinion, which probably nobody in the SPD shares.” The SPD emphasized that the meeting on Russia policy convened by Klingbeil had been planned for some time and had no connection to current requests to speak.

CDU foreign politician Röttgen is also critical of arms deliveries to Kiev

The party has been discussing how to deal with Russia’s behavior for several years. The classification of Russian politics by the then Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) as “increasingly hostile” in 2018 met with reservations from the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Manuela Schwesig. In addition to foreign politicians from the parliamentary group, von Klingbeil also invited Schwesig and the SPD prime ministers from Brandenburg and Lower Saxony, Dietmar Woidke and Stephan Weil, to the talks about Russia policy. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) did not take part.

Foreign policy of the SPD:

“Many can express themselves, but as the current SPD leadership, we make decisions together with Chancellor Olaf Scholz,” says co-party leader Klingbeil.

(Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa)

Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit again emphasized the determination of the federal government to respond to a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty with sanctions. A spokeswoman for Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) said that the situation was being closely monitored. The security of supply is “currently guaranteed”. The federal government is doing “what is necessary to ensure that the supply is secured”. The share of Russian gas in Germany is between 54 and 56 percent.

Meanwhile, the CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen expressed support for the federal government’s no to arms deliveries to Ukraine. Supplying weapons to Ukraine for defense is “not objectionable,” Röttgen said on Deutschlandfunk. Giving up German channels of dialogue and communication with Moscow is “too high a price”.

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