Illner's Ukraine discussion: "The country longs for EU membership"

In Ukraine, the guns are not silent, but the negotiators are.

Illner's Ukraine discussion: "The country longs for EU membership"

In Ukraine, the guns are not silent, but the negotiators are. The guests at Maybrit Illner agree that Germany must support the country. But there are different opinions about how. EU Commission President von der Leyen believes that Russia can also be indirectly involved in the country's reconstruction.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz made a government statement in the Bundestag. In it he made it clear that Russia must not win the war against Ukraine. "There shouldn't be a dictated peace," said Scholz literally. For Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy it is clear: The war in Ukraine will only be over when the last Russian soldier has left the country. This will require further assistance to Ukraine. Because this war can last for years. Scholz and Selenskyj know that.

At Maybrit Illner on ZDF, the guests discuss what this help could look like. In the end there is no consensus. The views are too different, especially between left-wing politician Gregor Gysi and FDP defense politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann.

Military expert Gustav Gressel believes that Ukraine has a chance of winning the war. If Russian President Vladimir Putin does not order mobilization in his country and does not send young conscripts to Ukraine, the Russian army would be so weak by the fall that it would only be able to act defensively.

The FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann doubts that Putin could order a general mobilization. She can imagine that at some point the people in Russia might no longer accept the war. In his "Victory Day" speech on May 9, Putin announced that the people of his country would have to make sacrifices. So far, around 20,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, mostly from the Central Asian republics. But now the first coffins of soldiers are coming from cities like Moscow or Saint Petersburg. If more and more 18 and 19-year-olds were sent to war and didn't come home, this could create resistance in the population.

Strack-Zimmermann would like clearer words from Chancellor Scholz. Above all, he must formulate a war aim. "People have to recognize that there's a war on our doorstep. It's also about our liberal values. I think it's important to explain that," says Strack-Zimmermann. In addition, the politician calls for Ukraine to continue to be supported with weapons.

Left-wing politician Gregor Gysi sees things differently. He's not fundamentally opposed to arms deliveries, but not from Germany. After the Second World War, which Germany had started, it could not be the case that German companies were again making money from arms deliveries. In Gysi's opinion, Germany's history and the guilt for the dead in World War II prohibits Germany from supplying weapons to war zones such as Ukraine.

Precisely because of the destruction during the Second World War, especially in the Ukraine, Germany is now even obliged to help the country, Strack-Zimmermann objects. "We have to defend Ukraine, precisely because of our history in which we destroyed Ukraine in World War II," she says. "I also interpret history as responsibility."

Gysi also wants Germany to help Ukraine. He thinks that Germany should focus primarily on humanitarian aid, for example in the medical field and in helping refugees.

Yevgenia Belorusets also disagrees with Gysi's view. The Ukrainian author and photographer says at Illner: "At this time, when my country is being destroyed by an absolutely aggressive force, to only talk about humanitarian aid would be like saying: This destruction is okay for us, we can do it just watch and get used to the bad news we let people in my country die every day but we bring some medicine for those who suffer people over here are grateful to be able to stay alive, especially the refugees. But history cannot justify what is happening today. What is happening today is also our history. Russia turned my peaceful country into a militarized country."

Putin must be stopped so that he can no longer attack another country. "That means more death, more danger and no European security."

Aid to Ukraine could also consist of membership in the European Union. That is what EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to achieve. Ukraine is eagerly awaiting membership of the EU, says the politician. "We see how impressively the Ukrainians defend our values ​​- with everything they have, even with their lives."

But it must also apply to Ukraine that certain standards must be met in order to join the EU. Ukraine is very motivated to achieve these standards. That's why von der Leyen suggests: "We'll have to help finance the reconstruction of Ukraine after the war anyway. Then it would make sense for us to link investments to the demand for the necessary reforms, i.e. to fight corruption or to build up Rule of law. Ukraine wants that too." She also demands that Russia also play its part in the reconstruction of Ukraine. "Our lawyers are now working to find ways to use the frozen assets of the Russian oligarchs."


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