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Statement by Foreign Minister Baerbock following the meeting of the Federal Government’s crisis unit at the Federal Foreign Office on the Russian attack against Ukraine

24.02.2022 - Speech

Fellow citizens,

We have woken up in a different world today. After months of preparations, of lies and propaganda, President Putin last night decided to follow up his threats with egregious actions. With the military attack against Ukraine, the Russian Government is breaking the most fundamental rules of the international order before the eyes of the world. Russia alone has chosen this course. Over the past few months, we have spared no effort to try to find a peaceful solution to this Russia crisis through diplomatic channels. Russia did not respond to our offers of dialogue.

The Ukrainians have done nothing that could justify this bloodshed. The aim of this war is to destroy one thing above all – the hope of the people in Ukraine that, after decades without freedom, they would have a right to democracy, a right to peace and a right to a better future without oppression.

President Putin, you will never be able to destroy this dream. It is growing in Ukraine, and it is growing in your country, too. I am convinced that many people in Russia, too, will be ashamed at this attack and appalled that Russia’s name will be damaged for decades by the unscrupulous murder of their brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

Fellow citizens, this morning we are all shocked, but we are not helpless. We have prepared ourselves for these events and will now act together with our partners and allies, coordinating every step with our friends in Ukraine. We will coordinate today in the EU, NATO and G7. We will launch the full package of the most severe sanctions against Russia. And we will strengthen our security and our allies. But today this is not just about Europe. No country in the world can accept that the sovereignty of another state is called into question only because its stronger neighbour so decides. With our diplomatic networks across the world, we now call on all states which, like us, believe in the Charter of the United Nations to stand up to this aggression together.

German nationals in Ukraine,

Leave Ukraine immediately – for your own safety. We have called on you to do so several times already over the past few days. If you cannot leave the country safely, remain in a safe place for the time being. We have set up a hotline for German nationals in Ukraine. You can reach it at any time. The number is +49 30 5000 3000. Organised transport is not possible at present. Our missions abroad in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova are ready to provide support once you have crossed the border. We have long been preparing for this with our European neighbours. Put your name on the Federal Foreign Office’s online register for emergency contact. If you have already left Ukraine, please have your name taken off the online register. Follow the international and local media and also be aware of announcements made locally.

I already decided yesterday evening that the remaining diplomatic staff of the German Embassy in Kyiv would be withdrawn for security reasons. Depending on the situation, we will decide whether the Embassy can temporarily work out of Lviv or elsewhere.

Fellow citizens, this war in our immediate neighbourhood will have repercussions for us in Germany, too. The sanctions against Russia, rising prices and falling stock markets will also have an impact on Germany. We did not seek this situation. However, we cannot avoid it, nor do we wish to. The European peace order of the past decades is the foundation for life in prosperity and peace. If we do not act resolutely to defend it now, we will pay an even higher price.

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