Baerbock announces toughest sanctions

Germany’s foreign minister long pinned her hopes on offers of negotiation with Russian President Putin. Following the Russian attack on Ukraine, she has found some clear words.

Baerbock kündigt schärfste Sanktionen an

Berlin (dpa) - Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has announced tough additional sanctions against Russia following the Russian attack on Ukraine. "We will launch the full package of massive sanctions against Russia," the Green politician said in Berlin on Thursday after a meeting of the crisis task force at the Federal Foreign Office. To this end, she said, Germany would liaise internationally with the European Union, Nato and the leading economic powers in the G7 format.

Baerbock, who addressed citizens directly in her statement at the Federal Foreign Office, announced that the German government would strengthen German security and its allies. The minister did not initially clarify exactly what this means. We are stunned, but not helpless, said Baerbock, explaining that Germany has prepared for such events and will now proceed together with its partners and allies. In doing so, she said that Germany would "liaise with our friends in Ukraine every step of the way".

At the same time, the minister told the German people that the war in Ukraine would also have an impact on the Federal Republic of Germany. "This war in our immediate neighbourhood will also have consequences for us in Germany," Baerbock said, pointing to rising prices and falling stock markets. "We did not choose this situation. We cannot walk away from it, and nor do we want to." She described the European peace order of the past decades as the basis for living in prosperity and in peace. "If we do not stand up resolutely for this now, we will pay an even higher price."

It is not just about Europe, Baerbock further stressed. "No country in the world can accept that the sovereignty of another state is up for grabs when its stronger neighbour wants it." Germany, she said, was using its diplomatic networks to appeal to all states "which, like us, believe in the United Nations Charter that requires us to stand up to this aggression together".

"We have woken up in a different world today," Baerbock said. "After months of preparing lies and propaganda, President Putin decided last night to follow his threats up with terrible deeds." In attacking Ukraine, she said, the Russian government was violating the most elementary rules of the international order before the eyes of the world. In recent months, no stone has been left unturned in efforts "to find a peaceful solution to this Russian crisis through diplomacy", Baerbock said, adding that Russia had not responded to the offers of talks.

"The Ukrainians have done nothing to justify this bloodshed," said Baerbock. She believes that Russia wants to use the war above all to destroy the hopes of people in Ukraine "that after decades without freedom they have a right to democracy, a right to peace and a right to a better future without oppression".

Baerbock addressed Putin directly: "President Putin, you will never be able to destroy this dream. It is growing in Ukraine. Equally it is growing in your country." She is convinced that "in Russia, too, many people will be ashamed and outraged" that this dream has been damaged for decades in Russia’s name "by the unscrupulous murder of their brothers and sisters in Ukraine".