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Berlin ignored warnings about danger of Russia – German Foreign Minister

Thursday, 6 July 2023, 18:38

Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, admitted the shortcomings of Berlin's foreign policy towards Russia, and in particular, its reluctance to heed the warnings of its Eastern European partners.

Source: Baerbock in a column for The Guardian

The Foreign Minister emphasised that Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has fundamentally changed the way Germany perceives threats to its own security and understands its own responsibility in today’ world.

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Quote: "For decades, German governments pursued what came to be known as "chequebook diplomacy" – the belief that our cash rather than our soldiers should help resolve conflicts," she noted.

Russia's full-scale invasion, according to Baerbock, led to a change in how Berlin perceives threats to its own security at the heart of Europe; Germans now realise that "our security is not a given."

"For too long, we did not listen to the warnings of our eastern neighbours who urged us to take the threats emanating from Russia seriously. We learned that ‘hoping for the best’ is not enough when dealing with an increasingly autocratic leader," Baerbock admitted.

"Besides all our efforts to construct a European security architecture with Russia, our economic and political interaction also did not sway the Russian regime toward democracy," she added.

Summing up, the head of German diplomacy emphasised that Russia's aggressive war has opened "a new chapter, redefining how we seek to promote peace, freedom and sustainability in this world: as a partner that embraces its leadership."

Background: Manfred Weber, President of the European People's Party, who belongs to the opposition Christian Social Union in Germany, has criticised Berlin's position towards Moscow on the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine as naive.

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