NewsFormer German president Gauck criticizes Berlin's hesitation on Ukraine aid, implies indecisiveness fuels Putin's aggression

Former German president Gauck criticizes Berlin's hesitation on Ukraine aid, implies indecisiveness fuels Putin's aggression

Berlin commemorates the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Berlin commemorates the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Images source: © PAP | FILIP SINGER
3:07 PM EST, February 24, 2024

In an interview for the latest issue of the weekly publication "Der Spiegel", Gauck hailed Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen as a role model, who announced that Denmark would give Ukraine all the ammunition that her country has.

"Such resolution is lacking in Germany. We should have provided Taurus missiles a long time ago. I question what is causing this delay. This can't be mere chance," said the former president. According to him, the German government might hesitate to risk its potential role as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia.

"This might explain why Germany does not give it their all regarding military support. Perhaps more time is required to comprehend that indecisiveness gives Putin an incentive to keep on killing," Gauck explained.

Heed the Warnings of the Polish and Baltic Nations

When enquired about the likelihood of Russia attacking a NATO country, Gauck claimed that predicting President Vladimir Putin's behavior is challenging due to his "imperial craziness". "Germany has consistently misperceived Putin. That's why it's important to heed the warnings of those familiar with Russian imperialism. These include nations like Moldova, the Baltic States, Finland, and Poland. These countries are convinced that anything can be expected from Putin," he elaborated.

The former president advocated for dedicating 2% of the GDP for defense - "barring any clever accounting ploys". When it was suggested that military spending would necessitate cuts in other areas, he responded - "The defense of our democracy, freedom, and consequently prosperity, should be worth such expenditures."

An Encounter in Berlin Where Putin Simply Smiled

Gauck said he saw through Putin early on, and never visited Russia. Nonetheless, he hosted Putin in 2012, following his re-election as Russia's president at his Bellevue residence in Berlin. Gauck emphasized that during this visit, he made it clear to Putin what his thoughts about him were. "On our way to the delegation discussions, I told him in German: 'Mr. President, isn't it peculiar that we are meeting at the Bellevue Palace when we consider our whereabouts nearly 30 years ago?'" Gauck narrated.

"Back in the 80s, Putin, as a KGB officer, had supported my oppressors," - Gauck detailed. "Putin did not answer but just smirked in his typical style. I have a good sense of people like him. Even awoken in the middle of the night, I can recite their ruling style - infringing upon human and civil rights, lack of legitimate and fair elections, misuse of law as a tool of authority, increasing a system that intimidates people, and notably -  a deficiency of free media" - we learn from the published interview in "Spiegel".

The German Government Abandoned Ukraine

Gauck corroborated his evaluation, which he expressed in his book "Aftershocks", that the German government under Angela Merkel deserted Ukraine. The Minsk Agreement of 2015 perpetuated the illusion that Russia held an interest in peace and de-escalation. Gauck found the continuation of the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline particularly grating. "The voices of Ukrainians, Poles, Baltic States, Americans, and the Germans who critically assessed the project were disregarded. (...) Our stance assisted Putin in conducting neo-imperial policies " - Gauck estimated.

Pastor Joachim Gauck, post the collapse of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the unification of Germany, led the Federal Office for Stasi Records which maintained and provided access to the archival resources of the East German political police. From 2012 to 2017, he served as the President of the Federal Republic of Germany. He opted not to run for the highest office in the country again to dedicate himself to journalistic endeavors.

Source: Deutsche Welle

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