SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich has admitted mistakes and omissions before the Russian attack on Ukraine. At an SPD event on the "turning point" in German security policy, he also said on Monday evening: "The policy of détente is not responsible for the attack by Russian forces on Ukraine. President Putin alone is responsible for this. And I hope that at some point he will also be held accountable. I want to say this very confidently.”
The SPD has been accused – and not just since the large-scale Russian invasion – of having misjudged Russian President Vladimir Putin for decades and relying too heavily on cooperation with Russia. SPD leader Lars Klingbeil had already admitted several misjudgments by his party in October. “In our search for common ground, we often overlooked what separated us. That was a mistake,” he said in a keynote speech at the time. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also spoke of mistakes. The party now wants to redefine its position on Russia and reorganize its foreign and security policy.
Mützenich said on Monday evening: "I also have mistakes, I also have omissions to confess." But sometimes he was also irritated by one or the other who said to the public: "Actually, they already knew everything."
Exactly one year ago this Monday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz – three days after the start of the war of aggression against Ukraine – announced a realignment of security policy in his so-called turning point speech in the Bundestag. This also included a 100 billion euro special fund for the Bundeswehr. The SPD parliamentary group recalled this speech on Monday in the discussion event.
In the past, Mützenich had called for more diplomatic initiatives since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression - and was also offended in his own coalition.
On Monday evening, Mützenich again campaigned for diplomatic efforts to come closer to an end to the war. However, he also emphasized that he does not mean negotiations with Putin. You can't negotiate with Putin at the moment, and the Russian President doesn't want to either. But you have to talk to the countries that could play a role when it comes to ending the war. This probably means countries like China and India, which have not yet voted in the UN General Assembly to condemn Russia's war of aggression.
Mützenich pointed out that not all countries saw the war against Ukraine as a turning point. "They even fear this turning point because they believe that Germany is saying goodbye to support for their problems," he said.
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