Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock explained in a live discussion of the “Freie Presse” that one question in particular was always central to the most important decisions: “What would I do if I was sitting in these shelters with my two daughters?” As herself When she visited Kharkiv, she was told in a car: “‘When the alarm goes off, you can count to 45. And if they’re still there, then the rocket didn’t hit them.’ How would I feel if my European neighbors then said: ‘Good luck, then count to 45.’”
In Kharkiv, Baerbock also saw at -15 degrees how civilian infrastructure was deliberately being destroyed by the Russian side: “The aim and purpose was that the power at a power plant could not be reconnected quickly enough and the line froze. So letting people die of thirst.” This led to “numerous sleepless nights” for her.
“Putin has made no secret that he wants to destroy Ukraine”
Regarding the accusation that she was a warmonger, she says: “Nobody wanted this war, neither the German government nor the people in Ukraine. One of them started this war and that is the Russian President. We do everything we can every day to ensure that the people of Ukraine can live in peace again.” At the beginning of the war, many people doubted whether military support was necessary. “But you have seen that without air defense, without tanks, without ammunition, we would have much more suffering in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian capital would probably have been taken. What we now know is that the Russians did not have baby food and water in their tanks, as was the propaganda at the beginning. That they want to liberate people in eastern Ukraine.” Putin “made no secret of the fact that he wanted to annihilate Ukraine.”
That is why military support is still needed. “It costs a lot of money. We don’t want a military conflict in Europe. But we can only stop when the Russian President stops bombing, abducting and raping people.”
“Mines have even been planted in children’s toys”
Reports of abducted children make her stomach turn. “Russian soldiers come to children’s homes and take children with them. They not only robbed them of their homeland, they abducted them – with the aim that they never see their homeland again.” The head of a children’s home reported to her in tears: “I couldn’t save them all.” This is also a Reason for continued support of Ukraine.
The big challenge is to wage the war on the basis of international law, since “inhumane methods” are being used on the other side. In this context, Baerbock describes a visit by Bucha after the atrocities there in spring 2022. Even after the Ukrainian troops had succeeded in pushing Russia back, the children could not live normally.
“Mines were even planted in children’s toys. The children have returned to their rooms and been torn apart because they wanted to pick up their dolls. You have to imagine this. The goal is annihilation. This distinguishes a democracy from a dictatorship, which is why it is not possible to talk to each other rationally.
Klitschko: “You can’t rely on Putin’s Russia”
Ex-boxing world champion Klitschko, who was still in Ukraine that morning, sees himself as his brother, Vitali, the mayor of Kiev, “since 1994 as a German adoptive child”. He told about the numerous civilian casualties in Ukraine. “You get used to the pictures, you get used to the dead. It’s no longer a surprise. You live on. These ambitions of Putin remain pointless.”
Regarding Germany’s attitude towards Russia, he says that it was far too late to react to the high degree of dependence. “In the end it was understood that cheap gas and oil is a weapon. With this weapon you determine exactly how the German people should live. Nuclear power plants have been shut down. They relied on their partner Russia. You can’t count on Putin’s Russia.” Klitschko thanked the German government for deciding “after a long wait” to support Ukraine and change stance on Russia 180 degrees. “Who would have thought two years ago that this is possible and to see where evil comes from?”