German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated on Tuesday that he had offered to visit Ukraine with other European Union leaders, but Kyiv said to him his trip was “not wanted.”
The unfriendliness comes as Steinmeier, a former foreign minister, faces criticism at home as well as abroad for his years-long detente policy for Moscow, which he has since accepted was a mistake.
In a visit to Warsaw, Steinmeier stated that he had made a plan to travel to Kyiv along with the presidents of Poland, Latvia, Estonia, as well as Lithuania this week “to push a strong sign of mutual European solidarity with Ukraine.”
“I was ready to do this, but apparently, & I must take note of this, this was not required in Kyiv,” he said.
As per reports, a Ukrainian diplomat said, “We all are aware of Steinmeier’s close relations with Russia. He is not welcome in Kyiv at this point. We will see if that changes.
The awkward refusal comes as Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under fire for not having travelled to Ukraine ownself so far, unlike British Prime Minister Boris Johnson & EU leader Ursula von der Leyen.
Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, doing his second term as German president, was a foreign minister in two of former chancellor Angela Markel’s governments. He has long been called for his Moscow-friendly stance.
He has been a leading advocate of the “Wandel durch Handel” (Change through Trade) concept, which argues that fostering close commercial ties can help spur democratic reforms.
Steinmeier also championed the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, which has now been halted over Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine.