German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of the Green Party has declared that Europe is “fighting a war against Russia,” in contradiction of official NATO policy.
Speaking before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg this week, Baerbock declared that Europe must not engage in infighting, because the real conflict is with Russia.
"We are fighting a war against Russia."
– German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaking on Tuesday at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe pic.twitter.com/eA5jbX4HAH
— MintPress News (@MintPressNews) January 26, 2023
“I’ve said already in the last days,” she said.
“Yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks.
“But the most important and the crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”
The comment came as “WWIII” began trending on Twitter, as headlines announced fresh escalations in the war on both sides.
Why the hell is world war 3 trending again pic.twitter.com/t6t4wXBsy1
— MaxtheOwl (Nightbirb) (@MNightbirb) January 26, 2023
This week Russian forces have continued to launch dozens of missiles into Ukrainian cities, including the nation’s capital of Kiev, striking civilian infrastructure across the country.
Ukraine hit by Russian missiles day after West's offer of tanks https://t.co/uFqfimfCka
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) January 26, 2023
At the same time, the United States, the UK and Germany have agreed to donate large numbers of sophisticated Western tanks to Ukraine to aid the war effort. Having secured the tanks, Ukraine is now attempting to convince NATO to send fighter jets such as F16s.
'We will get F-16s': Ukraine wants NATO fighter jets after winning battle for Western tanks https://t.co/L9yQiCfp63
— CNBC (@CNBC) January 26, 2023
The Kremlin apparently noticed the Foreign Minister’s comments, comparing them to an interview with former German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year, who said that the 2014 Minsk peace agreement was signed so that Ukraine could have time to build up its military and defensive capabilities.
Speaking on the new remarks, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “If we add this to Merkel’s revelations that they were strengthening Ukraine and did not count on the Minsk agreements, then we are talking about a war against Russia that was planned in advance. Don’t say later that we didn’t warn you.”
Hours after Baerbock’s remarks, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was quick to announce that while Germany and the US would be sending tanks to Ukraine, this did not constitute an act of war or aggression towards Russia.
“We must always make it very clear that we are doing what is necessary and possible to support Ukraine, but at the same time preventing an escalation of the war to a war between NATO and Russia, and we will continue to observe this principle,” Scholz said, contradicting Baerbock.
Furthermore, Germany’s Federal Foreign Office attempted to backpedal on Baerbock’s comments, telling German newspaper Bild that sending tanks to Ukraine “does not make Germany a party to the conflict.”
Other NATO members were also quick to shoot down the remarks, with a spokeswoman for the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs saying “We are not at war with Russia and none of our partners are.”
“The delivery of military equipment as part of the exercise of its self-defence…does not constitute a co-belligerence,” she added according to Le Figaro.
Russia retaliated for the donated tanks with a missile barrage across Ukraine this week, with Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko claiming that one person was killed and two injured when a missile hit non-residential buildings in the country’s capital.
Multiple Ukrainian regions were hit by missile strikes early today, killing at least one person, according to local authorities.
This is a day after Western allies pledged to supply Kyiv with dozens of tanks to defend itself against the Russian invasion.https://t.co/M0O1SfU2Fb
— POLITICOEurope (@POLITICOEurope) January 26, 2023
Ukraine’s largest energy producer, DTEK, has been forced to conduct emergency power shutdowns in the city and the surrounding region due to dangers posed by damaged infrastructure.