NewsRussia criticizes German ambassador over Ukraine remarks

Russia criticizes German ambassador over Ukraine remarks

Maria Zakharova
Maria Zakharova
Images source: © PAP | YURI KOCHETKOV
6:42 PM EST, December 10, 2023

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took issue with a speech given by the German ambassador, accusing him of blasphemy.

The German ambassador, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, drew attention from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs following his speech at a Christmas Concert. In his address, Lambsdorff revisited the tragedies of the war in Ukraine. He gave his speech to hundreds at the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Moscow on Saturday, December 9.

In his speech, Lambsdorff asserted that "war is not inevitable" and urged people to remember the victims of the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, regardless of nationality or faith. He argued, "We know that war is not inevitable. People and nations can reach peaceful resolutions to difficult issues if the desire exists," and "Despite our differences in interests and beliefs, we can and must collectively seek peaceful solutions."

Zakharova accuses diplomat of blasphemy

These comments elicited a strong response from Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She protested against the German diplomat's remarks on Telegram, stating that the ambassador had neglected to acknowledge his government's regular arms deliveries to Ukraine's conflict zone. "He should be praying in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, not committing blasphemy," she added in her overnight post.

February 2022 marked Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, leading to tens of thousands of fatalities, including many civilians. Moscow holds the West responsible for exacerbating the conflict. Moscow's propaganda suggests that the primary cause of these crimes isn't their invasion but the Western supply of arms to Kyiv.

Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a politician from the Free Democratic Party, assumed the role of German Ambassador in Moscow in July of this year. From the onset, it was clear that this would be a challenging task. Over the past year, Russia has demonstrated significant hostility towards Germany due to Germany and the West's stance on Ukraine's war and Russian war crimes.

In May, the Kremlin demanded that several hundred German embassy staff, along with staff from Goethe Institutes and the German School, leave Russia. Before this, the Kremlin expelled approximately 20 Russian diplomats in retaliation to Berlin's similar action, which was justified on the grounds of Russian espionage activities. This diplomatic turmoil alludes back to Russia's May 2022 attack on Ukraine. Russia continually accuses Germany of "Russophobia".

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