Since the rally on the Russian war of aggression in Berlin last Saturday, co-initiated by Bundestag member Sahra Wagenknecht (left), the politician has had to put up with the accusation that her theses were used to attract demonstrators from the extreme right-wing camp. At the ARD talk "Hard but fair" on Monday, the left-wing politician again underlined her positions - and opposed the entire discussion. The "Süddeutsche Zeitung" author Heribert Prantl, the political scientist Herfried Münkler, the FDP member of the Bundestag Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann and the Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) were invited.
"We allow ourselves to be drawn deeper and deeper into this war instead of seriously making an offer to negotiate and then testing whether that will have a chance in Moscow," the left-wing politician warned right at the beginning of the show. In contrast, “Hard but fair” presenter Louis Klamroth quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov on the same day. Peskow had explained to journalists: "At the moment we do not see the conditions for the matter to take a peaceful path."
In this context, the political scientist Herfried Münkler warned of the dangers of a ceasefire at this point in time: There is a risk that Russia will use it to reorganize itself "and, if the opportunity arises, to reopen the war on terms that are more favorable to them," said Münkler. Wagenknecht contradicted: "Exactly this position of Zelenskyj (Ukrainian President, editor's note) is a problem because we cannot end this war like this."
Wagenknecht also expressed sharp criticism of Strack-Zimmermann, who described her as an "armament lobbyist". The FDP politician and chairwoman of the defense committee then objected: "Alice Weidel, the blonde colleague from the AfD, said that too." "Is that the factual debate you mean?" replied Wagenknecht. Strack-Zimmermann, on the other hand, did not let that sit: "It is completely beyond me why you have become so emotionally radicalized as you are doing now," said the FDP politician.
In the conversation, "Hard but fair" moderator Klamroth Wagenknecht also presented her statements from the past year. Just a few days before the start of the war about a year ago, Wagenknecht declared that Russia had "actually no interest" in invading Ukraine. "We can be very glad that Putin is not what he is portrayed to be, namely a wacky Russian nationalist who gets high on pushing borders," she said at the time.
"I was wrong there," said Wagenknecht - and then added: "The Russian leadership has an extreme interest in doing everything possible to ensure that Ukraine does not become a military outpost of NATO."
Wagenknecht also received some encouragement for such statements at their demonstration in Berlin last Saturday – for example from the AfD. A clip in the program showed moderator Klamroth as a reporter at the event. One participant was shown declaring that Putin was “now being stylized as the new Hitler”. The accusation of the “lying press” was also raised.
Russian soldiers are getting closer and closer to Bakhmut. Around 5,000 of the once 70,000 inhabitants are still holding out. WELT reporter Alfred Hackensberger and cameraman Ricardo Garcia Vilanova report from the city in eastern Ukraine, which has been fought over for months.
Source: WELT/ Alfred Hackensberger
"Am I part of the lying press?" Klamroth wanted to know from Wagenknecht. This dodged several times, declaring that they did not want to adopt the term. According to Wagenknecht, supporters of their manifesto no longer have any "serious addressees" in the party spectrum. "So you want to be the new addressee then?" Klamroth wanted to know. "I believe that in Germany we need a party that represents all these people," Wagenknecht replied.
The Ukrainian Lieutenant Colonel Sergiy Osachuk, who had just returned from the front in Bakhmut on the same day, was also on the show. Although the soldier was reticent, he found nothing to gain from the demands for immediate negotiations. "When the last occupant and Russian soldier are pushed out of Ukraine's territory, we are ready to conclude any peace," Osachuk said. “Our field of operations is the battlefield. This is the front,” Osatschuk continued. Ukrainians would want to live “with dignity and freedom”. "We defend our right to free life."
The statement of the Ukrainian lieutenant colonel was underlined by another clip. A woman from Ukraine described how she was raped by a Russian soldier with his machine gun. Sexual violence "almost became an epidemic in Ukraine after February 24," Ukrainian historian Marta Havryshko said in the post.
"I hope Alice Schwarzer has just seen the post," said Strack-Zimmermann - an allusion to Wagenknecht's comrade-in-arms, who had published the manifesto on the arms deliveries together with the left-wing politician. "War crimes are committed by both sides," replied the left-wing politician - which in turn earned her sharp opposition from Göring-Eckardt: "That's enough," said Göring-Eckardt.
Moderator Klamroth apparently went too far with Wagenknecht's statements: "Now we have a problem because it is my responsibility as the moderator of this program not to leave any false reports." The political scientist Herfried Münkler summed up: "You don't name the perpetrators!" a big round of applause from the audience.
"Kick-off" is WELT's daily news podcast. In the morning the most important appointments of the day classified by our experts. And in the evening, the most important topic of the day analyzed by WELT editors. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, among others, or directly via RSS feed.