“The children are in shock,” reported Isabel Schayani on Monday evening at “Hart aber Fair”. “They realize that their parents can no longer give them security.” She was connected from the Polish-Ukrainian border and seemed completely dazed by her encounters with the refugees on site. “I don’t get it,” she said over and over again. “These people are completely lost, these people have experienced war. Most say they are not refugees, they are travellers.” Her report touches many people online, and in the studio it visibly has the same effect. The German-Ukrainian publicist Marina Weisband is moved to tears when she reports on the situation in Ukraine herself. Since the outbreak of the war, she has been trying to keep in touch with family and friends from her home country. >>> Read all the developments on the war in Ukraine in the live ticker >>> She gets so many offers of help from Germany that she can hardly keep up: “But it’s all just a band-aid for the people who are losing everything right now” , she says. “I hope now that we see these people, understand their stories, that we will never again encounter people who are fleeing without empathy.” In addition to Weisband, former Brigadier General Erich Vad, the Federal Chairman of the Greens Omid Nouripour, the journalist and former Moscow correspondent Gesine Dornblüth and political scientist Christian Hacke.
“I’m at home, in my country, I’m not leaving here”
The conversation about refugees from Ukraine is also emotional for Green politician Omid Nouripour. “For a lot of people, it’s re-traumatization. I grew up myself during the time of the Iran-Iraq war.” Above all, he emphasizes that the federal and state governments must now find a solution for housing the refugees as quickly as possible, taking into account other factors than just strict numbers, such as family members who already live in Germany. “But people also have to be employed,” said Gesine Dornblüth. The refugees should have their qualifications recognized quickly and unbureaucratically, and be able to quickly make themselves useful in Germany. Here you will find third-party content. In order to interact with or display third-party content, we need your consent. Activate external content I agree that third-party content can be displayed to me. This allows personal data to be transmitted to third parties. This may require the storage of cookies on your device. You can find more information about this. She also maintains contact with former interviewees in Ukraine, some of whom had previously fled Donbass and have now had to leave their new homes. For Marina Weisband’s family in Ukraine, however, fleeing is currently not an option: “My aunt says: ‘I’m at home, I’m in my house, with my family, in my country, I’m not leaving here'”. Instead, she and her family are preparing for the worst – there is already no more petrol. And yet they would always joke, Weisband said: “They then say: ‘Oh, you know, the uncle is so hard of hearing, he turns the TV up so loud that we can’t hear the shots'”. Disagreeing in the analysis: the journalist Gesine Dornblüth (left) and ex-brigade general Erich Vad Source: WDR/Thomas Ernst/© Thomas Ernst In view of the suffering of the local people, many viewer questions revolved around how to deal with Russia in the future. Omid Nouripour, who sits in the Bundestag for the Greens, said that military action cannot be ruled out, but it is clear: “A direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is the slide into World War III”. In particular, retired Brigadier General Erich Vad expressly warned against military intervention. “We have to show Putin boundaries, we have to make it clear to him that a NATO alliance will not allow things to continue like this,” he said. War must be threatened as a real option, but this should only occur in extreme emergencies. Read also Instead, Vad and Hacke agreed that the West had to be more willing to engage in dialogue. Vad stressed that nuclear weapons were threatened earlier when one was “conventionally inferior,” and concluded that Putin must be feeling in dire straits right now. That’s why you have to be careful not to use “escalatory” language: “We can’t find a military solution,” he said. “We have to find a political solution and if we call Putin hysterical, that’s not possible.” Political scientist Christian Hacke: A neutral Ukraine as a solution? Source: WDR/Thomas Ernst/© Thomas Ernst Political scientist Christian Hacke even went one step further. Putin is “demonized” in the West: “He is a brutal Machiavellian. But he’s acting rationally from his point of view,” he said. The possibility for a peaceful Ukraine would have been a neutral Ukraine from the start. “Free between East and West. That’s what people like Henry Kissinger and Helmut Schmidt said.” The Chinese foreign minister said that at the last Munich Security Conference, Hacke asserted – only nobody from the West made a suggestion for it. Hacke also criticized US President Joe Biden for openly signaling to Putin that he did not want to intervene: “It’s practically an invitation.” But the EU would only fuel the conflict even further if it accepted the EU’s membership application . It is important to offer Putin an option to end the conflict and save face, for example through a neutral Ukraine outside the EU, said Hacke.
“We don’t want war, but we already have war”
“The Ukraine was neutral in 2014 and yet it was attacked,” replied Gesine Dornblüth. “Putin doesn’t want neutral Ukraine, Putin wants to annex Ukraine”. Weisband also stressed that Putin’s rationale for the war was “just a story he’s telling the West,” so “none of it will be fixed by banning Ukraine from EU membership.” Omid Nouripour also bid repeatedly throughout the show Vad and Hacke his forehead: “If Putin calls the chancellery tomorrow, then of course a conversation will be sought immediately,” he said. “Of course we have to talk to him, he refuses constructive discussions.” Read also But that wasn’t enough for Erich Vad either: “We Europeans are have-nots,” he said. “Our telephone diplomacy is purely symbolic, Putin is responding to military power.” However, he did not specify exactly where he would draw the line. He seemed almost condescending to Gesine Dornblüth when she asked whether NATO should consider a no-fly zone. “You can’t do that with Russia. That clearly means war.” Dornblüth replied that she had only thrown the question out into the room: “We don’t want war, but we are already at war,” she said. But Weisband also spoke out against a no-fly zone, although the Ukrainians with whom she was in contact were begging for it. If Europe were at war with Russia, it would no longer help Ukraine to rebuild or as a place of refuge, she said. Nevertheless, she also sees the need to remove Putin from the crisis “face-saving”. You can also read a report from Tschernihiv Here, too, the round did not come to a common denominator. It is certain that Putin will not be overthrown for a long time, according to Dornblüth, too few oligarchs have distanced themselves from him. Hacke also emphasized that in Germany one only sees parts of the Russian opposition. “We see the protest movement,” he said. “But we don’t see how many Russians support this sow as long as they seem to be fine.” Marina Weisband perhaps found the clearest words at the end of the show: “We can’t just show toughness militarily, we can show toughness above all economically,” she said. “We’re still paying for some of the bombs falling on Ukraine.” During the show, there was breaking news that Putin was threatening to shut down gas supplies via Nord Stream 1. She also touched on this: “If Putin threatens to turn off my gas, we will look for another energy supply. But I have to rely on the fact that it will become so economically inconvenient for Putin or his St. Petersburg clique to continue running this country that they will find a way and then pick up the phone when you call.” Here you can find our WELT podcasts listen We use the player from the provider Podigee for our WELT podcasts. In order for you to be able to see the podcast player and to interact with or display content from Podigee and other social networks, we need your consent. Activate social networks I consent to content from social networks being displayed to me. This allows personal data to be transmitted to third parties. This may require the storage of cookies on your device. You can find more information about this. “Kick-off Politics” is WELT’s daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, among others, or directly via RSS feed.
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