German conservatives warn of disunity within the country over Russia, insisting that 'Russia is not our enemy'

4 February 2022, 04:54 PM

German opposition leaders Friedrich Merz and Markus Soeder, the heads of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union respectively, have urged the German government to clarify their stance on the Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border during a press conference on Feb. 4, reports German public broadcaster DW. 

According to Soeder, the German government is not united in their current approach to Russia, saying that the ruling Social Democrat party is “(recycling) former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s arguments”, the ruling Green Party is hesitant on supplying arms to Ukraine, and the ruling Free Democratic Party was “getting ahead of everyone.”

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Soeder is convinced that, due to this lack of unity in the ruling ‘traffic light’ coalition, the goal of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ visit to Moscow remains unclear.

Merz also warned Germans against perceiving Russia as their enemy and called Russia “a European country.

According to Merz, Russia-sparked crisis is “a war between…two European countries,” emphasizing that he believes that Russia is entirely responsible for the current escalation, and warned that the current tensions may develop into an armed conflict. He says that the German CDU is not ruling any options for a potential response in the event of a further escalation between Russia and Ukraine.

On Feb.1 the Social Democratic Party led by Olaf Scholz stated its united stance on the Ukraine crisis and affirmed that the escalation was initiated by Russia.

In the last few weeks, the German government has under heavy criticism, particularly in Ukraine, due to a perceived ambiguity in its support for Ukraine, amid the looming threat of a potential invasion of the country.

Germany has declined to sell Ukraine defensive weapons on numerous occasions. Berlin is guided by its conviction to “not sell weapons to countries embroiled in armed conflicts,” and that lethal aid “would not advance de-escalation efforts,” according to the German government.

Earlier, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said that, despite the threat of a full-blown Russian invasion of Ukraine, Berlin has for the moment ruled out arming Kyiv, hoping to avoid doing anything that would further escalate the current military tensions caused by Russia. She added that Germany will provide Ukraine with a modern field hospital.

Germany also offered Ukraine a shipment of 5,000 helmets to the Ukrainian military, as a “signal of support” for Ukraine, according to Lambrecht, causing Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko to slam the shipment as “a joke.”

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