Article by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock marking the second anniversary of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine

24.02.2024 - Article

Published in the Bild newspaper, 24 February 2024.

731 days of air-raid sirens. 731 days of underground schooling. 731 sleepless nights, worrying about brothers and daughters at the front.

For two years now, Putin’s Russia has been waging war on Ukraine. There is not a single person in Ukraine who does not want the war to end – the sirens to remain silent, the mothers and fathers to come home from the front, the children to play in the school playground again.

And we are doing everything so that these hopes can finally come true. This includes supplying weapons so that Ukraine can defend itself.

Anyone who claims that supplying weapons protracts the war is playing into Putin’s hands.

For it is a lie to say that the West is keeping Ukraine from negotiating.

The fact is that for 731 days we have been working tirelessly with our international partners to finally restore peace in Ukraine.

Another fact is that already in March 2022, Ukraine was engaged in negotiations with Russia in Istanbul, and was prepared to make concessions. Of course, only if Russia withdrew its forces.

And then instead of a withdrawal, we got Bucha. People had their hands tied up and were shot dead outside their houses. Women were raped.

Children were kidnapped by Russia and taken from Ukraine to Russia. And in the winter, Russia bombed Ukrainian power stations so that the people would have to live in the cold, in darkness.

As distressing as it is, the truth is that Putin does not want negotiations. He does not want peace. He wants “conquests”. He has said so himself.

And while he continues to wage his brutal war of aggression abroad, Putin stifles all opposition in Russia. He let Alexei Navalny die in full view of the world. And now he is arresting young Russians who lay flowers in memory of Navalny.

Young people who want the same thing as everyone in Ukraine: to finally live again in freedom and peace.

For all of them, this is our message to Putin: Let the Ukrainian children go. Withdraw your troops. End this war. The next day there would be peace. And the whole world could finally breathe easy again.


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