Baerbock: “Submission is not peace”

In a debate marked by attacks, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on the UN Security Council to oppose Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. “This war is not the war of the Russian people. This war is Putin’s war,” the Greens politician said at a special session in New York on Friday to mark the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “The Russian President is risking the future of his own country.” A just peace is also in the interests of the people of Russia.

“We will not convince the Russian representative”

The Russian ambassador to the UN, Wassili Nebensja, accused western supporters of Ukraine – including Germany – of wanting to destroy Russia. The word “peace” is used disingenuously, said Moscow’s representative at the United Nations: “What is meant is a surrender by Russia, which ideally inflicts a strategic defeat on Russia, followed by the dissolution of the country and the reorganization of the territories.”

With a view to Russia, Baerbock continued: “I’m under no illusions: we won’t convince the Russian representative today.” China’s representative Dai Bing called for talks between Moscow and Kiev “without preconditions”. Russia and China are permanent members of the United Nations’ most powerful body, as are the US, France and the UK. Germany currently has no seat there.

Controversy over the minute of silence

The high-level meeting to mark the anniversary of the start of the war was repeatedly delayed by diplomatic maneuvers. At first, Nebensia tried to prevent Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba from speaking in front of the members of the Security Council, but was unsuccessful. When Kuleba initiated a minute’s silence for the victims of the war at the end of his speech, Nebensja took the floor and demanded that the minute’s silence should apply to the victims on all sides since 2014.

In his speech, Kuleba was confident of victory: “Putin will lose much sooner than he thinks”. He again called for the establishment of a special tribunal with special jurisdiction over the crime of aggressive war, citing the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal after World War II as a model.

Blinking warns of truce

Kuleba again stressed that thousands of children had been kidnapped to Russia. “Probably the largest case of state-sponsored kidnapping of children in the history of our modern world.” Russia denies the allegations.

Probably alluding to a new Chinese position paper, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of a “temporary or unconditional” ceasefire. “Russia will use any lull in the fighting to tighten control over illegally captured territory and to build up its armed forces for further attacks.” Security Council members should therefore not be fooled by calls for a ceasefire.

China had previously called for a ceasefire in the war against Ukraine. The document also calls for negotiations to be resumed soon. Baerbock emphasized at the end of her speech: “What we can do is stand up for a world in which peace means peace.” One should not “ignore who is the attacker and who is the victim,” said Baerbock. “Because submission is not peace.”

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