The leaders of the opposition Arsenii Yatseniuk and Vitalii Klitschko went to Berlin to discuss with Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel the need to avoid bloodshed in Ukraine and to ride out the political and economic crisis. Before the issue went to press we did not know anything about the outcomes of this meeting. The Day asked the journalist of Die Welt Gerhard GNAUCK to tell what Ukraine should expect from this meeting.
“For me it was interesting to hear, and it is right that Yatseniuk in Maidan attached very important role to visa-free regime with the EU. Hopefully, this visit of the leaders of the opposition to Berlin will lead to some clear signals of this type, which have been absent for a long time.
“As for the meaning of this visit, in German diplomatic circles last year one could hear before the Vilnius Summit that Yanukovych was very interested in a phone talk with Angela Merkel. Nothing of this kind happened then. And now the German chancellor is personally receiving Klitschko and Yatseniuk. I think this is a strong signal. And the question remains open to which extent this is indeed a cardinal change of German policy in this region.”
And what signals does Merkel send to Europe, Russia, and Ukrainian power by receiving the leaders of Ukrainian opposition?
“First, the topic of sanctions is actively discussed between the European community and the West on the one hand and Ukraine on the other hand. Ms. Merkel’s party has already made a statement in this regard – implementation of sanctions.
“Secondly it is hard to predict what signals Germans gave to Moscow during the visit of German Foreign Minister Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier. I think the position is at minimum about avoiding violence and escalation in Ukraine. And there is a maximum position to involve the opposition in creation of a government, so that it could really change something. I would like to know as well where we are going to stop between this minimum and this maximum.
“So far I am skeptical that the bout will end with the opposition’s 1:0 win. It will be good if the results will be at least somewhat advantageous for the opposition.”
It turns out Berlin supports the opposition and formation of a new coalition government?
“New – yes. Whether coalition or nor, it is hard for me to say, but Merkel indeed is giving a clear signal that her sympathies are with the opposition.
“I would like also to note that once Guido Westerwelle said that Germany should focus on the actions regarding its close neighbors or the neighbors of the European Union. Not be changing the world somewhere far away: in Asia and Africa. Probably, this is one of the elements of such thinking of Berlin.”