NewsGerman political clash over proposal to 'freeze' Ukraine war

German political clash over proposal to 'freeze' Ukraine war

Rolf Muetzenich's statement was regarded as an "encouragement for Putin".
Rolf Muetzenich's statement was regarded as an "encouragement for Putin".
Images source: © Getty Images | Florian Gaertner

6:23 AM EDT, March 17, 2024

Politicians from the Greens, FDP, and CDU have criticized Rolf Muetzenich, the head of the SPD parliamentary faction, for suggesting the consideration of a "freeze" on the war in Ukraine. "His speech in the Bundestag marked a return to the old policy of social democracy towards Russia," assessed Ricarda Lang, leader of the Green Party.

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"Clearly, 'freezing' this conflict would ultimately result in unimaginable suffering for many people in the occupied territories," Lang stated during an interview on WELT television.

Anton Hofreiter, a politician from the Green Party, described Muetzenich's proposal as an incentive for Putin to "further escalate the war" in Ukraine. "It damages Germany's reputation worldwide," he highlighted.

The controversial proposal by the SPD politician

"Isn’t it time for us not only to discuss conducting a war but also to consider how to 'freeze' the war and then bring it to an end?" Muetzenich asked during Thursday's debate in the Bundestag on the CDU/CSU motion to provide Ukraine with Taurus cruise missiles.

"I am convinced that Ukraine was just as horrified as everyone in the Bundestag upon hearing this," commented FDP deputy Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann on Deutschlandfunk radio.

The speech deeply troubled the former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnik, who expressed on the platform X, "I’ve always said: this guy was and remains the most repulsive German politician."

CDU foreign policy expert Roderich Kiesewetter suspects that Muetzenich's statement was in line with the Chancellor's Office strategy. He described this initiative as a "trial balloon" that exposed the SPD's general stance. According to Kiesewetter, the idea to "freeze" the conflict indicates that the SPD maintains a "romantic relationship with Russia," which now "catches up with (the citizens of) Germany in a terrible way."

Meanwhile, Muetzenich has dismissed the criticism. In an interview with "Rheinische Post," he explained that his speech "clearly supported Ukraine, including providing weapons and ammunition." Furthermore, he highlighted, like many other German politicians, that it's important "to consider not only military aid but also the conditions for a possible end to the war."

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