German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told CNN that the responsibility for ending the war in Ukraine lays firmly at the feet of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It’s in Putin’s hands. He’s the one who started the war without any reason. It is now his responsibility to end the war,” Baerbock told CNN’s Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview.
“The brutal reality is that Putin himself has chosen … to fight a war against civilians and to fight a war against the European peace order,” she said.
Germany has approved the delivery of 56 type Pbv 501 combat tanks to Ukraine, according to a German defense ministry spokesperson Friday. Germany’s increased defense spending has marked a historic shift in the country’s foreign policy.
Baerbock said that Germany is offering increased military assistance to the Ukrainian government as “we are in situation where NATO is standing there in solidarity with Ukraine and on the other hand, there is Russia which has made clear that there is no red lines for themselves.”
“We are supporting from Germany with weapons we haven’t done in the past because the reality has changed so brutally,” she said.
“We had to change our course in Germany by 180 degrees because Ukraine needed our military support; we tried everything to avoid this war, but it was Putin’s decision to do the opposite and that’s why now we are also delivering weapons to Ukraine,” she said.
The foreign minister said that sanctions have been effective in leaving Putin “totally isolated,” but said that there are still strong energy links between Russia and Europe that needed severing. “The question we are raising about fossil fuels, oil, and energy, Europe is connected with Russia. Therefore we are working every day to phase out our fossil fuel dependency on Russia,” she told CNN.
When asked by Amanpour as to what Putin is saying in diplomatic talks, Baerbock stated that the Russian president had “entered into this war with a false narrative, with lies. … This wrong narrative he has been telling to the world is obviously also something he believes himself.”
“When my chancellor, when others like the president of France are speaking to Putin, obviously they are telling him that he started this war with lies, that he broke with international law… but he is obviously not listening to my chancellor, and to other international partners,” she said.
“The few people that are left behind him or around him who can actually speak to him do not dare to tell him the truth about the reality in Ukraine, that his troops are not being as successful as they obviously thought in the past,” she added.