German president says Kyiv rejected his offer to visit Ukraine

WARSAW (AFP) – German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier mentioned on Tuesday (April 12) that he had provided to visit Ukraine with different EU leaders, however Kyiv had advised him his journey was “not wanted”.

The snub comes as Steinmeier, a former overseas minister, is going through criticism at dwelling and overseas for his years-long detente coverage in direction of Moscow, which he has since admitted was a mistake.

Speaking throughout a visit to Warsaw, Steinmeier mentioned he had deliberate to journey to Kyiv with the presidents of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania this week “to send a strong signal of joint European solidarity with Ukraine”.

“I was prepared to do this, but apparently, and I must take note of this, this was not wanted in Kyiv,” he advised reporters.

Germany’s topselling Bild newspaper quoted an unnamed Ukrainian diplomat as saying: “We all know of Steinmeier’s close relations with Russia here… He is not welcome in Kyiv at the moment. We will see whether that changes.”

The embarrassing rejection comes as Chancellor Olaf Scholz is beneath hearth for not having travelled to Ukraine himself thus far, not like British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen.

Steinmeier, a Social Democrat serving his second stint as German president, was a overseas minister in two of former chancellor Angela Merkel’s governments. He has lengthy been identified for his Moscow-friendly stance.

He has been a number one advocate of the “Wandel durch Handel” (Change by Trade) idea, which argues that fostering shut industrial ties may also help spur democratic reforms.

Steinmeier additionally championed the controversial Nord Stream 2 fuel pipeline between Russia and Germany, which has now been halted over Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine.

Steinmeier not too long ago admitted that his rapprochement method in direction of President Vladimir Putin had been misguided.

“I still hoped that Vladimir Putin possessed a remnant of rationality,” he advised Der Spiegel weekly in an interview.

“I did not think that the Russian president would risk his country’s complete political, economic and moral ruin in the pursuit of an imperial delusion.”

He added that his personal help for Nord Stream 2 “was a mistake, clearly”.

But he mentioned there “can be no return to normal with Putin’s Russia” in Warsaw on Tuesday, alongside Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda, including that the West would have to settle for the prices of the battle.

He accused Russia of committing “war crimes” in Ukraine and known as on Moscow to make it potential to evacuate residents from the besieged Ukrainian port metropolis of Mariupol.

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