Frank-Walter Steinmeier had to cancel his trip to Kiev after admitting that he was personally not welcome by the Ukrainian leadership, an event that could be seen as a “disgrace” for a senior German politician.
Speaking during a visit to Warsaw on March 12, Mr. Steinmeier said that Polish President Andrzej Duda had raised the idea of going to Kiev with the German President and the leaders of the three Baltic countries, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The aim is to send a strong signal of European solidarity towards Ukraine.
“I’m ready to make this trip, but it doesn’t seem to be what Kiev wants,” the German president said. The admission of “not welcome” in Kiev was made by the German president after the Bild Zeitung newspaper quoted Ukrainian officials as saying that President Volodymyr Zelensky would refuse to meet Mr. Steinmeier if the German leader went to Kiev.
“We all know that Mr. Steinmeier has a close relationship with the Russian side. He is not welcome in Kiev at the moment. Let’s wait and see if things change in the future,” a Ukrainian diplomat said.
Mr. Steinmeier in recent days has been strongly criticized by the public, due to his close relationship with Russia, which he once described as “an indispensable partner”. While serving as foreign minister, Steinmeier forged strong ties with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
He is also considered an ardent supporter of the project to build the “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline, which will bring gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea.