Warsaw. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, criticized for his relations with Russia in recent years, said on Tuesday that he intended to travel to Ukraine with other heads of state, but kyiv refused.
The planned trip included the presidents of Poland and the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). “I was prepared but apparently, and I take responsibility for it, it was not what kyiv wanted,” Steinmeier said during a trip to Warsaw (Poland).
This visit sought to “send a strong message of common European solidarity with Ukraine,” he lamented.
The Bild newspaper was the first to expose this failed plan, quoting a Ukrainian diplomat who harshly attacked the Social Democratic (SPD) president: “Everyone here knows of Steinmeier’s close relations with Russia… He is not welcome in kyiv , for now. We’ll see if this changes.”
Steinmeier, who was twice Foreign Minister in Angela Merkel’s government, has been heavily criticized in recent weeks for his alleged lack of firmness against Russia, accusations that also weigh on the former conservative chancellor.
He even acknowledged in early April that he had made a “mistake” by supporting the construction of the gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, Nord Stream 2, which would have doubled the capacity of Russian gas supply, and which Berlin suspended in February.
Current Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz is also under pressure from his coalition allies, the environmentalists, who are calling for more engagement with Ukraine, especially by sending heavy weapons.
President Vladimir Putin described as “false information” the discovery of dozens of civilian bodies in the city of Bucha, near kyiv, after the withdrawal of Russian troops at the end of March.
Putin compared these accusations to those made against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons during the war in that country and said: “We have the same false information in Bucha.”
He also commented on the difficulties in the negotiating environment because of the Ukrainian team. “I was informed last night that the Ukrainian side had again changed something… Such a lack of consistency on fundamental points creates difficulties,” Putin told a news conference.
Putin, who was with Lukashenko at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s far east, downplayed comments that the Russian army was having difficulties facing Ukrainian resistance.
“Our mission is to meet the objectives set by minimizing losses, we are going to act harmoniously,” he said.