German FM under fire for ‘war with Russia’ comment
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has faced waves of criticism after saying at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that Germany is at war with Russia. The comment led opposition politicians to question whether she is fit for the job.
“A statement by Baerbock that Germany is at war with Russia shows that she is not suited for her job,” MP Sahra Wagenknecht, the former head of the Left Party in the Bundestag, tweeted on Friday. A foreign minister should be a “top diplomat” and “not act like an elephant in a China shop,” she added, accusing Baerbock of “trampling” on Germany’s reputation.
During the debate on Tuesday, Baerbock said European nations are “fighting a war against Russia” and must do more to defend Ukraine.
Germany needs a foreign minister who is capable of acting “as a responsible diplomat and not a firebrand” amid the conflict in Europe, said Alice Weidel, the co-chair of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Bundestag, adding that a foreign minister should represent Germany’s interests exclusively.
Gerhard Papke, a regional lawmaker from North Rhine-Westphalia and president of the German-Hungarian Association, accused Baerbock of being “completely politically insane” for making the statement.
Left MP Selim Dagdelen demanded that Chancellor Olaf Scholz provide an “immediate” explanation on whether Baerbock has his government’s mandate “for her declaration of war.” He added that the minister is a threat to the security of the German people.
Neither Baerbock nor Scholz have responded to the criticism so far. The Foreign Ministry stated that Berlin is not a party to the conflict between Kiev and Moscow, in a statement to the tabloid Bild.
“Supporting Ukraine in exercising its individual right to self-defense… does not make Germany a party to the conflict,” it said, pointing to the UN Charter. The Foreign Ministry added that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is “a war against the European peace and order,” and that this is what Baerbock meant.
Moscow said that Baerbock’s words only show that the West has been planning this conflict for years.