Zelensky urges Germany to tear down new Russian ‘Wall’ in Europe

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BERLIN (AFP, REUTERS) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Germany in an emotional video deal with earlier than Parliament on Thursday (March 17) to assist destroy a new “Wall” Russia was erecting in Europe.

“It’s not a Berlin Wall – it is a Wall in central Europe between freedom and bondage and this Wall is growing bigger with every bomb” dropped on Ukraine, Mr Zelensky informed MPs.

Appearing on a display in his now trademark khaki t-shirt with darkish rings below his eyes, Mr Zelensky was welcomed by MPs in the Bundestag decrease home with a standing ovation.

In a speech steeped in historic imagery from Germany’s overcome its Cold War division, Mr Zelensky addressed German Chancellor Olaf Scholz instantly with a name for larger solidarity with Ukraine.

“Dear Mr Scholz, tear down this Wall,” he implored, evoking then-US president Ronald Reagan’s 1987 enchantment in Berlin.

“Give Germany the leadership role that you in Germany deserve.”

However he coupled his flattery with a powerful rebuke of Berlin’s years-long reluctance to get up to Moscow and sever its sturdy power and enterprise ties with Russia.

“We turned to you,” he mentioned. “We told you that Nord Stream (gas pipelines) was a kind of preparation for the war.”

“And the answer we got was purely economic – it is economy, economy, economy but that was the mortar for the new Wall.”

Mr Zelensky burdened that the way forward for the continent was at stake in the present warfare and argued that governments throughout the West have been failing to meet the second.

“Every year politicians repeat ‘never again’,” the Ukrainian chief mentioned, referring to annual Holocaust commemorations.

“And now, we see that these words simply mean nothing. A people is being destroyed in Europe,” he mentioned, noting that 108 youngsters had been killed in his nation for the reason that begin of the Russian offensive.

“Help us stop this war.”

Despite his blunt criticism, MPs gave Mr Zelensky one other standing ovation after his 15-minute deal with. 

His digital speech to the German Parliament got here a day after an analogous video deal with to the US Congress, the place he renewed requires a “no-fly” zone over Ukraine’s skies to stop Russia’s air assaults.

During that speech, Mr Zelensky likened Russia’s invasion of his nation to the Sept 11, 2001 terror assaults in the US and the assault on Pearl Harbor in 1941, which drew the US into World War II.

War to halve Germany’s 2022 development

Separately, German financial institute IfW mentioned on Thursday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could have a heavy impression on the German economic system, with development reaching simply 2.1 per cent moderately than the beforehand anticipated 4.0 per cent for 2022.

“Without the strong post-pandemic boost, German economic output would be in recession in the current year,” mentioned IfW vice-president Stefan Kooths.

The warfare on the sting of the European Union will price Germany some €90 billion (S$135 billion) in output for this and subsequent 12 months, mentioned the IfW, the primary to subject a forecast since Russia’s assault started on Feb 24.

“The Ukraine shock will delay the return to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels in the second half,” it mentioned, including that manufacturing capacities is not going to be absolutely utilised up to the top of the 12 months as provide chains are damaged and demand disrupted.

At the identical time, Europe’s largest economic system could have to battle a pointy leap in shopper costs that would attain up to 5.8 per cent – a degree not seen since German reunification.

Energy costs have leapt for the reason that warfare broke out, forcing the primary German corporations to take drastic motion like idling their crops whereas shoppers are confronted with hefty energy payments.

Germany had warned of extreme penalties on its economic system because it joined allies in imposing unprecedented sanctions on Russia, together with shutting key banks out of the SWIFT fee community and placing the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline on ice.

Numerous German multinationals together with Volkswagen have additionally suspended their enterprise in Russia.

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