Ukraine rejects visit from Federal President Steinmeier – POLITICO

BERLIN – The Ukrainian leadership has delivered a blunt message to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier: You are not welcome here.

Steinmeier, seen as a symbol of Germany’s soft line towards Moscow before invading Ukraine, said on Tuesday he intended to meet President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv together with the Presidents of Poland and the three Baltic States.

The plan was “to take a trip to Kyiv to send a strong signal of common European solidarity with Ukraine. I was ready for that, but apparently – and I have to acknowledge that – it wasn’t wanted in Kyiv,” said Steinmeier called on a visit to Warsaw.

German tabloid Bild First reported the Ukrainian snub. She quoted a Ukrainian diplomat as saying “all of us here know Steinmeier’s close ties to Russia” and that the Federal President was “currently not welcome in Kyiv”.

For the German head of state, who previously served as foreign minister, the Ukrainian step is tantamount to humiliation.

Last week, Steinmeier publicly admitted for the first time that he was “wrong” in his soft stance on Russian President Vladimir Putin, particularly in the context of his support for the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which many senior German politicians have continued to defend themselves when Moscow massed troops on Ukraine’s borders.

Although Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who also backed Nord Stream 2, canceled the project in February and announced a complete overhaul of Germany’s foreign policy, relations between Berlin and Kyiv were strained, and Zelenskyy last month urged German lawmakers to start Putting principles before the economy by completely isolating Putin. Ukraine rejects visit from Federal President Steinmeier – POLITICO

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