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Ukraine war at Maybrit Illner: Habeck comments on Selenskyj's allegations

The Ukraine war is the subject of Maybrit Illner on ZDF. In addition to Robert Habeck, the Ukrainian ambassador also finds clear words.

Under the impression of Volodymyr Zelenskyj’s speech in the Bundestag, yesterday’s edition of Maybrit Illner on ZDF dealt with the question of whether Germany’s commitment to Ukraine goes far enough.

At the beginning of the show, however, it also became clear that the corona numbers in this country in the media shadow of the war had almost unnoticed taken on worrying proportions. Because instead of Maybrit Illner, who tested positive, her colleague Theo Koll welcomed the viewers and led through the show that evening. There was also a change of cast for the guests, which was not explained: For the announced SPD politician Kevin Kühnert, his party colleague Michael Roth took a seat in the studio.

Maybrit Illner (ZDF) on the Ukraine war: Habeck criticizes “completely wrong assessment”

Before those present got into the conversation, a previously recorded conversation between Theo Koll and Economics and Energy Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) could be seen. He asserted his personal understanding of the Ukrainian President’s situation and his urgent appeal to Olaf Scholz to do everything possible to stop the war. At the same time, Zelenskyy’s accusations that the federal government is doing too little are “not entirely justified”, since Germany has already done a lot.

Maybrit Illner on ZDF The guests of the show from March 17th, 2022
Robert Habeck B’90/The Greens, Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister of Economics
Marie Agnes Strack Zimmermann FDP, Chairwoman of the Defense Committee in the German Bundestag
Andriy Melnyk Ambassador of Ukraine in Germany
Michael Roth SPD, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag
Eric Vad Brigadier General A. D., former military adviser to Angela Merkel

But Habeck also affirmed that the border to the war party should not be crossed. A peacekeeping force in Ukraine, as proposed by Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński, is only conceivable for Habeck under the condition of a previously negotiated ceasefire. When asked about his own department, Habeck admitted that he had “limited solidarity” with Ukraine due to its dependence on Russian oil and gas imports and made it clear: “Energy policy is not to be viewed in purely economic terms”. There had been a “completely wrong assessment” in the past.

Talk at Maybrit Illner (ZDF) on the Ukraine war: the ambassador becomes clear

Koll then led confidently but reservedly through the conversation in the large group. He asked the politicians Roth and Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP) present about their reactions to Zelenskyj’s speech and spoke about their respective positions on the war without anything fundamentally new emerging.

What was remarkable that evening was above all a different assessment of the progress of the hostilities. When asked by Koll about the reports of poor troop morale among the Russian aggressors, Erich Vad, retired general and former adviser to Angela Merkel, referred to the encircled urban centers of Ukraine and Russian control of the Black Sea coast up to Odessa. Despite everything, the Russians had made far-reaching military advances.

The Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk vehemently disagreed with this view, since neither Kyiv nor Kharkhiv were surrounded and again emphasized the low morale of the Russian armed forces. It would have been interesting here to learn more about how the various assessments came about and the sources of information, which show once again that there was also an “information war” in Ukraine.

Ukraine war at Maybrit Illner (ZDF): Strack-Zimmermann on Germany’s role

Overall, the program didn’t bother much with inquiries and progressed quickly through an inventory of possible courses of action. Michael Roth, for example, spoke of the fact that Germany’s increased commitment would trigger concerns among the population and said: “We mustn’t be afraid,” because that’s exactly what Vladimir Putin wanted. However, the SPD politician was not asked about the inconsistency of this statement, since Germany is acting more cautiously compared to other NATO countries.

All news about the Ukraine conflict can be found on our topic page.

In their assessment of finding a compromise, Melnyk and Vad came together at the end of the show. The negotiations have not progressed as far as the Russian side said, said the Ukrainian ambassador. One should learn from past mistakes and not give too much credibility to the words of the Russian foreign minister. At the moment we are still trying to understand each other’s positions. However, Ukraine is ready for “any compromise” to stop the bloodshed. The retired general also spoke out in favor of a quick diplomatic solution, referred to the currently favorable negotiating position of both sides and demanded: “We have to try to get out of this politically.”

Here, too, Germany’s role is one of restraint, Strack-Zimmermann clarified. The decisions in the negotiations should be made independently by Ukraine, concluded the FDP politician. (Jendrik Walendy)

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