Ukraine conflict: government and SPD leadership in Russia – politics

SPD co-leader Lars Klingbeil has rejected the impression that the government and the SPD are at odds over Russia policy. “It’s absolutely clear to us: We’re experiencing an escalation that’s coming from Russia,” said Klingbeil on ARD when asked if there weren’t differences in his party and the traffic light government. “We are very clear that all options are on the table should Russia attack Ukraine,” he added, referring to possible sanctions.

There has been a debate for weeks as to whether there should also be sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Klingbeil also reacted to controversial statements by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD), who had accused Ukraine of saber-rattling. “Many can express themselves, but as the current SPD leadership, we make decisions together with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.”

The SPD co-leader has convened an internal party meeting for the afternoon to discuss Russia policy. According to the party, this is a long-term process to bring together the various poles in the largest governing party on Russia policy. Klingbeil referred to a dual approach of determination and dialogue. “We are also clear that it is now a question of organizing peace. I do not want us to get into a situation through threats or actions in which a war situation suddenly arises in Europe – perhaps unintentionally,” said he.

The SPD co-chief had previously rejected arms deliveries to Ukraine. It is right that Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) are now leading the way in order to develop diplomatic initiatives from the heart of Europe. (31.01.2022)

Estonia demands arms deliveries from Germany

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas calls on the federal government to take a more active role in defending Ukraine. “We encourage our German partners to listen to the Ukrainians. Ukraine has asked for help. The country needs help in defending itself against the aggressor,” said Kallas image-Zeitung with a view to the discussion about the transfer of artillery pieces from GDR stocks requested by Estonia. “We cannot allow Russia to restore its political and military influence over its neighbors.” Calling Moscow’s demands “a trap” and an “attempt at blackmail,” Kallas called on NATO not to make any concessions on Europe’s security. (31.01.2022)

NATO has clearly ruled out a military operation in Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion. “We have no plans to deploy NATO combat troops in Ukraine,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the BBC. NATO military trainers are deployed in the ex-Soviet republic, and the alliance is also helping to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities and is supplying military equipment.

However, since Ukraine is not a NATO state, the guarantee of 100 percent security that members can claim does not apply to the country, emphasized Stoltenberg. “For Ukraine, a partner, we provide support and also send the message that if Russia uses force again, there will be severe economic sanctions.”

The Ukrainian army is now “much stronger, much larger and much better equipped” than it was in 2014, said Stoltenberg. At that time, Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and has been supporting Moscow-loyal separatists in eastern Ukraine ever since. The NATO Secretary General stressed that there was “no certainty” about Russia’s intentions. However, a significant Russian deployment with many troops and heavy military technology can be observed, which is accompanied by “threatening rhetoric”. “There is a real risk and that is exactly why NATO allies are increasing their support for Ukraine. (31.01.2022)

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