Why Ukraine’s Zelensky Will Be Glad to See Merkel Go

"It didn't work out too well with Zelenskyy; he doesn't really seem to be her type."

Angela Merkel is preparing for a special farewell. The outgoing German chancellor receives the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in Berlin on Monday for what will likely be their last meeting in person.

On several occasions, Zelenskyy has invited Merkel to Kyiv at the end of August to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence. He is also keen for the chancellor to attend the founding conference of his international Crimea Platform. To date, however, Merkel has not indicated any plans to be at either event.

Since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, the German chancellor, as a leading Western politician, has been intensively involved in dealing with Ukraine. But ahead of this meeting, the atmosphere in Berlin is more troubled than it has been in a long time.

Diplomatic tension between Berlin and Kyiv

Despite repeated expressions of gratitude, Ukraine’s frustration is also becoming increasingly apparent. The latest efforts by Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to organize another EU-Russia summit caused irritation in Kyiv. The Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, invited the ambassadors of both countries to a meeting, where he referred to the plan as an “unpleasant and surprising attack” and expressed satisfaction that EU leaders fail to agree on a summit with Vladimir Putin Merkel’s idea was “rebuffed” at the EU summit.

At the end of June, Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin, Andriy Melnyk, boycotted a commemorative event with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier marking the 80th anniversary of Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. The venue was the German-Russian Museum in Berlin-Karlshorst, which the ambassador deemed “inappropriate.”

Breakthrough in Nord Stream 2 dispute?

The biggest bone of contention in relations between Kyiv and Berlin is still the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is to deliver gas from Russia directly to Germany. Ukraine opposes the Baltic Sea project because it could lose out on transit fees for Russian gas and because it fears a Russian military escalation. Now that the United States, under the leadership of President Joe Biden, has decided against further sanctions, the pipeline is set to be completed in just a few months’ time.

Merkel and Zelenskyy are expected to discuss how Ukraine could be protected against potential losses. There has been speculation in the media about compensation, without any concrete details. Shortly after this, in quick succession, Merkel and Zelenskyy will both travel to Washington, where Nord Stream 2 is likely also to be on the agenda.

No Merkel at the next Normandy summit

However, any breakthrough regarding eastern Ukraine is still a long way off. The situation has been deadlocked since the last four-way “Normandy Format” summit, in December 2019 in Paris. A follow-up meeting in Berlin was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The most recent escalation on the frontline in eastern Ukraine was in the spring of this year when dozens of Ukrainian soldiers were killed. Russia initiated massive troop deployments to the Ukrainian border; Merkel and Macron called for de-escalation, and Moscow partially withdrew the troops.

While Zelenskyy is keen for the US to take on a bigger role in any peace talks, the Russian president does not seem interested in further meetings with the Ukrainian leader. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelenskyy spoke with Merkel and Macron via video conferencing recently — but they did so separately. “Why meet with Zelenskyy when he gave up his country to full external control?” Putin said during his annual Q&A with the Russian public in late June. “The key Ukrainian issues are decided not in Kyiv but in Washington, and to some extent in Berlin and Paris.”

The Kremlin leader did not rule out meeting with Zelenskyy in principle, but there will almost certainly not be another Normandy summit before Merkel steps down following Germany’s September general election.

 Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron und Volodymyr Zelenskyy

No close personal relations

On a personal level, experts note that Merkel’s relationship with Zelenskyy has not been as good as it was with his predecessor, Petro Poroshenko. Gustav Gressel of the Brussels-based think tank European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) said the German chancellor refused to meet then-candidate Zelenskyy in the run-up to the Ukrainian presidential election, whereas Macron received him.

“On a personal level, there was a shadow over their relationship. For Merkel, this plays a not insignificant role,” said Gressel. “It didn’t work out too well with Zelenskyy; he doesn’t really seem to be her type.”

Kyiv-based foreign policy expert Olena Hetmanchuk also said the German and Ukrainian leaders’ relationship is “not the best.” Zelenskyy is “not a comfortable partner” for Merkel, she added.

It is unclear whether Zelenskyy’s critical remarks contributed to this. In a phone call with then-US President Donald Trump in July 2019, which was subsequently made public, Zelenskyy accused Merkel and Macron of not doing enough for Ukraine. This is a message he now repeats increasingly often, as for example in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in early June. Fundamentally, he said, Ukraine was very grateful to Germany — but he had “expected more.”

Above all, Kyiv has been disappointed by Berlin’s refusal to supply Ukraine with arms. Even after the Green Party co-chairman Robert Habeck backed Ukraine’s request to purchase weapons for defensive purposes, the German government reiterated its rejection. Zelenskyy told the FAZ newspaper that Kyiv was interested in items such as patrol boats, rifles and armored vehicles.

Zelenksyy visiting troops fighting in eastern Ukraine

Kyiv hoping for a new beginning after German elections

It is becoming increasingly clear that Kyiv is preparing for the period after Merkel. It hopes that, with her successor, Germany will shift its position on certain issues. Zelenskyy has said Ukraine has done enough to be given “clear commitments” on the EU and NATO membership it seeks. According to Hetmanchuk, “There is an expectation that Merkel might support the prospect of EU accession for Ukraine, as a kind of parting gift.”

Whether the chancellor will indeed go along with this is unclear. Kyiv is more likely to find that Berlin will continue to hold back. The leading candidates from her party as well as the Greens and the SPD have all expressed their understanding for Ukraine’s wishes, but they put a damper on its hopes for movement on this issue in the near future.

Source: Deutsche Welle

  1. ken says

    The Ukraine did this to themselves. They are the ones that passed all those dumbshit laws isolating the Russian segment of their population. Instead of bowing down and taking it in the rear they left.

    Now that the Ukies have lost half of their country they’re running around crying it’s Russia’s fault and want others to help ‘win’ back their lost territories. They refuse to eliminate the atrocious laws they passed, they refuse to accept their citizens of Russian heritage as human.

    You reap what you sow….

  2. Jerry Hood says

    I bet my neck, these two zionazi jews talked in yiddish…But Greater Khazaria in U-kraine is not going to happend! Only further Okrajana = U-ktaina( sliced up U- kraina)…

  3. kkk says

    Zionist mafia running show

  4. bahnanlagen says

    I do not believe that Russia annexed Crimea. Crimea legally voted by UN law to leave a country that was illegally overthrown and not by election. Then they asked for admittance to the Russian Federation, again by UN law. There was no annexation, only the west calls it this. Wish people would read and study a little before spurting off western narratives.

    1. Eddy says

      Sadly, many authors of articles on this site, continue to push that agenda, I question their motives for doing so, when the facts are, as you state, so bloody obvious.

    2. Julie Ann Racino says

      I was at the UN web tv regarding human rights when Russia was invading the Ukraine and destroying Donbass, so it is hard to se what “voting” was involved. In addition, Russia was found at the same time in Syria “near chemical weapons use on children” and another destroyed city Alleppo. Julie Ann Racino, ASPA, HHSA, 2021 Then to stop those planes from US to Russia over Ukranian air space”. On Crimea, our first report was of a government beheading at the Ukranian offices!

  5. Raptar Driver says

    This is an extension of the government that came to power through violence.
    It is completely illegitimate.

  6. Eddy says

    Hang on a sec, let me get this straight. The Ukrainians have fought long and hard trying to prevent the Nord stream pipe from coming on line. This line is to supply Germany and satelite countries with affordable gas. Benefitting all Germans and the surrounding countries. At the same time, the Ukrainians are trying to PREVENT this pipeline coming on stream, thus in effect, preventing the Germans from benefiting from it. Then they complain because the Germans are not sympathetic to their requirements ???? W.T.F. is wrong with these people ? If you want something from someone, you don’t go about deliberately alienating them. Besides, as I’ve said many a time, the GREED and CORRUPTION of the Ukrainians has been their downfall. If they had not syphoned of gas and then sold said gas at profit to themselves, and not paying the Russians for the gas they used themselves, ensuring Russia had to go thru court to get their due, there would be no Nord stream pipeline. I’m looking forwards to the day the Ukrainians need to RENEGOTIATE their gas agreement with Russia when the current one expires. That will be very interesting indeed. Rumour has it, they won’t be renewing it, but will instead buy much more expensive gas, from guess who ?? Their bestest buddies in the U.S. of A.

  7. Thomas Turk says

    ..annexed Crimea.. ” cut the crap, Roman G.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.