Boris Pistorius gets a new ministerial post – and is already being criticized.
The German designated Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (62, SPD) is still under criticism before taking office. The Lower Saxony member of the Bundestag Tilman Kuban (35, CDU) says about him to “Bild”: “The next person from the Russia connection takes his place in the federal cabinet.”
He makes it clear: “Boris Pistorius must now make the new beginning in Ukraine policy clear and leave his previously openly pro-Kremlin line behind.”
Pistorius criticized Russia sanctions in 2018
But what is meant by Pistorius’ supposedly pro-Kremlin line? In 2018 he criticized the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” for the sanctions against Russia. He asked for them to be checked. At that time, Russia was already attacking eastern Ukraine and had already annexed Crimea.
He said: «This should be an occasion to review the sanctions. If you don’t achieve goals, you have to ask yourself whether the instruments are the right ones.”
Now he says to the “Bild”: “I have not criticized the sanctions themselves or their goal, but like many others questioned their effectiveness. Today’s sanctions cannot be compared to the sanctions from back then and, as we know, they are working.”
Belonged to «German-Russian Friendship Group»
Pistorius belonged to the “German-Russian Friendship Group of the Federal Council”. However, this was dissolved in April 2022. He also took part in a round of talks with Putin diplomats at the end of 2016. He discussed German-Russian relations with the then Ambassador Vladimir Grinin (75) and the then Consul Ivan Chotulev (62).
According to the “Bild”, which refers to a newspaper report, Pistorius advocated town twinning between German and Russian cities. At this point Vladimir Putin (70) had already invaded Crimea and attacked eastern Ukraine.
Pistorius was in a relationship with the ex-wife of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (78), Doris Schröder-Köpf (59). Former Chancellor Schröder is a close confidant of Putin, but Schröder-Head distanced himself from Putin in March 2022. In the spring of 2022, Schröder-Köpf and Pistorius separated “in peace and friendship”.
Pistorius should keep his word to Ukraine
Ukraine is now demanding that Pistorius clearly distance himself from his past in Russia. Andriy Melnyk (47), former Ukraine ambassador and now Deputy Foreign Minister in Kyiv, says that a “massive increase in German arms deliveries would be the best answer to earlier statements regarding Russia.”
In the summer of last year, Pistorius made it clear on the TV program “Beisenherz”: “The reconquest of occupied territories is legitimate and completely correct and we must also support it. Ukraine must win the war.”
Wladimir Klitschko (46), brother of Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko (51), wrote to Pistorius on Twitter: “We in Ukraine are counting on you being serious about the sentence: ‘Ukraine must win this war!’ important for us and for that we need one thing above all: Leopard II tanks!» (eu)