Boxer turned city official Vitali Klitschko claims Berlin has stabbed Ukraine in the back on several counts
Berlin has repeatedly sold out Ukraine by refusing to lay on deliveries of guns, ammunition, and military equipment in the face of purported aggression from neighboring Russia, Kiev's mayor Vitali Klitschko has claimed, as tensions flare in Eastern Europe.
Writing for German tabloid Bild on Sunday, the former heavyweight boxing champion said, "There is great frustration in Ukraine over the fact that the federal government continues to stick" to its support of Russia's underwater gas pipeline.
Klitschko added that Germany's refusal to supply defensive weapons to Kiev, and its blocking of other states from handing over arms, had also caused significant disappointment. A recent report in the Wall Street Journal alleged that Berlin was preventing Estonian officials from providing German-origin military hardware to Ukraine.
"This is a refusal to help, and a betrayal of friends in a dramatic situation where our country is threatened by Russian troops from several borders," he insisted.
Klitschko's comments come amid long-running concerns from Western leaders that Moscow could be planning to launch an invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin has repeatedly denied. Earlier in January, Ukraine's ambassador to Germany, Andrey Melnik, said Berlin had a moral responsibility for the future of the Eastern European nation and was therefore obliged to sell Kiev arms so the country could defend itself against purported Russian aggression. If not, he warned, there was a risk of "serious consequences for bilateral relations."
Speaking as part of an interview with the Funke media group, Melnik called on the German government to abandon its current position of not supplying arms to countries where there were military conflicts.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said earlier this month that the government's weapons-export policy was "rooted in our history." Marcel Dirsus, a non-resident fellow at the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University, told broadcaster DW "the idea that Germany delivers weapons that could then be used to kill Russians is very difficult to stomach for many Germans."
Ukraine has seen bloody internal fighting since the 2014 Maidan, which saw the government ousted by violent street protests, with clashes escalating in the Donbass region in recent months.
Kiev has previously claimed that its lobbying efforts helped to stall the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, designed to connect Siberia's gas fields to consumers in the EU. In November, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba that the underwater link "should have been operating and earning money a long time ago, but the fact that it still does not work and we are fighting against it is the result of our common endeavors,"
Despite completion of the underwater link in September, approval of the venture was suspended in mid-November by the German Federal Network Agency over a regulatory issue regarding the operator's lack of premises inside Germany.