Ambassador Anke Schlimm about Ukraine - CNA Interview

Botschafterin Anke Schlimm

Botschafterin Anke Schlimm, © Bot Nikosia

02.03.2022 - Article


Russia’s attack on Ukraine requires an unequivocal response, German Ambassador tells CNA
CNA - Antonios Gkildakis - Nicosia 01/03/2022 07:36

Russian President Vladimir Putin started a “war of aggression in cold blood” against Ukraine, says the Ambassador of Germany to Cyprus, Anke Schlimm, and speaks of a new reality which requires an unequivocal response.

“What is needed to secure peace in Europe will be done. Germany will contribute its share to these efforts in a spirit of solidarity” the Ambassador says, in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, while expressing Berlin’s full solidarity with Ukraine.

She notes, moreover, that the Russian attack on Ukraine is a breach of the most fundamental rules of the international order. “No country in the world can accept that the sovereignty of another state is called into question only because its stronger neighbour so decides” Schlimm underlines.

Referring to Germany’s decision to supply Kiev with weapons, the Ambassador echoes Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz who told the Bundestag last Sunday that “no other response to Putin’s aggression was possible.”

“The 24th of February 2022 marks a watershed in the history of our continent. With the attack on Ukraine, the Russian President Putin has started a war of aggression in cold blood. For one reason alone: the freedom of the Ukrainian people calls his own oppressive regime into question. There is nothing and nobody that can justify it” she says.

The appalling injustice and the pain of the Ukrainian people affect us all very deeply, she goes on and notes that the world afterwards will no longer be the same as before.

For Schlimm, Russia alone has chosen this course. “Over the past few months, the European Union has tried to find a peaceful solution to this crisis through diplomatic channels. Russia has ignored multiple offers of a diplomatic way forward, including through the Normandy format on the basis of the Minsk Agreements. It did not keep its own words to our leaders, nor its written commitments enshrined in the Minsk agreements” she remarks.

Asked about the repercussions of the crisis, the Ambassador notes Putin’s talk about “indivisible security” and says that what the Russian President really seeks now is “to divide the continent into the familiar old spheres of influence through armed force.”

This, she says, has consequences for security in Europe. “In the long term security in Europe cannot be achieved in opposition to Russia. However, for the near future, Putin is jeopardising this security” the Ambassador adds.

President Putin has created a new reality, which requires an unequivocal response and we have given one, says Schlimm. “As you know, Germany decided to supply Ukraine with weapons for the country’s defence. No other response to Putin’s aggression was possible” she adds.

Another challenge, according to the Ambassador, lies in preventing Putin’s war from spilling over into other countries in Europe. “This means that we will stand unconditionally by our collective defence obligation within NATO” she says and calls on President Putin not to underestimate “our resolve to defend NATO territory together with our allies. When we welcome a country into NATO, we commit to defending that country as a partner and ally, just as we would defend ourselves.”

The Ambassador refers moreover to EU sanctions of “an unprecedented scale” targeting, among others, Russian banks and oligarchs, along with President Putin and individuals close to him. Asked how this is going to affect members states with links to Russia, she says that all of Europe will be affected, including Germany and Cyprus.

“The sanctions against Russia, rising prices and falling stock markets will have an impact on all European countries, including Germany and Cyprus. We did not seek this situation. However, we cannot avoid it; we are therefore taking our responsibilities to the fullest” she says.

For Ambassador Schlimm this is both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge consists in strengthening the sovereignty of the European Union sustainably and permanently, she explains. The opportunity, she goes on, lies in preserving the united front that we have demonstrated in recent days in agreeing the sanctions package.

“For Germany and for all of the EU’s member states, that means not simply asking what we can extract in Brussels for our own country, but asking ‘What is the best decision for our Union?’ Europe is our framework for action” she underlines.

Regarding the consequences in the energy sector, the Ambassador asserts Germany’s readiness to take together with its allies all necessary steps.

“During the last week we have prepared together with our international partners a package of massive and targeted sanctions. The German Government has also frozen Nord Stream 2, as we have always said that also Nord Stream 2 is on the table. We are ready to pay this price, and Russia will have to feel the consequences. We have a very clear agreement with the United States government on gas transit and energy sovereignty in Europe” she notes.

Schlimm refers to measures by the Federal Government to secure Germany’s energy supply and says that her country “will change course in order to eliminate the dependence on imports from individual energy suppliers.”

“After all, the events of recent days and weeks have shown us that responsible, forward-looking energy policy is not just crucial for our economy and our climate” but also for our security, she says and notes that that the faster we make progress with the development of renewable energies, the better.

For the German Ambassador, there should be no illusions that Putin will change course overnight. “The Russian leadership will very soon see what a high price it will pay. In the last week alone, Russian stocks lost over thirty percent of their value. This shows that our sanctions are working, and we have not ruled out further sanctions – nothing is off the table” she remarks.

Measures, she says, are closely coordinated with Germany’s partners and allies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Norway, but also South Korea, Japan and Australia. “Our unity is our strength. We stand closely with Ukraine and all Ukrainians” the Ambassador concludes.


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