Defense Minister: Lambrecht: Don't let Putin's nuclear threats paralyze you

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht warned that the West would be paralyzed by Russian threats to use nuclear weapons and called for continued support for Ukraine.

Defense Minister: Lambrecht: Don't let Putin's nuclear threats paralyze you

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht warned that the West would be paralyzed by Russian threats to use nuclear weapons and called for continued support for Ukraine. The federal government takes the threats seriously and is observing them with great concern, said the SPD politician on Saturday in Chisinau, Moldova, after meeting her counterpart Anatolie Nosatii. At the same time, Lambrecht Moldova promised further support in equipping and training the country's army. Among other things, it is about the procurement of drones.

Lambrecht said of the nuclear threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin: "It's important to be very careful. But it's also important not to be paralyzed by such threats." She added: "This must not lead to careless support for Ukraine." It is now important "to be vigilant, to react very prudently and also to ensure that there is no further escalation". Ukraine must continue to receive consistent support.

In view of the announcement by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that he would apply for accelerated accession to NATO after Russia had annexed four of his country's territories, Lambrecht expressed reservations. Of course, Ukraine is free to choose the alliance in which it feels comfortable. However, joining NATO is subject to certain requirements. The question will now be discussed among the 30 NATO countries. "Germany will not go it alone," said Lambrecht.

Zelenskyj had declared the day before that he wanted to apply for accelerated accession to NATO. He justified his call for an accelerated accession process with Ukraine's importance for the defense of Western society. In general, a prerequisite for joining NATO is that the candidate must not be involved in international conflicts and disputes about borders.

About 500,000 refugees came to Moldova

Lambrecht said it was important to the federal government to support Moldova against Russian attempts to destabilize the energy supply. But it is also about military support for the Moldovan army in training and equipment. We will go further here. Negotiations in this regard will take place as early as next week. She is confident that Moldova can be supported where it is needed - for example in the procurement of drones. Lambrecht also promised Moldova greater help in securing and destroying old Soviet-era ammunition.

Moldova is one of the smallest countries on the border with Ukraine and has been severely affected by the refugee movements from the neighboring country, but also by the consequences of the corona pandemic and the energy crisis. According to Nosatii, Lambrecht is the first German defense minister to visit the country.

Since the start of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine on February 24, around 500,000 refugees have come to Moldova, which itself has only around 3.2 million inhabitants. Many of them have traveled on to other countries, and many have returned to Ukraine. About 95,000 refugees stayed in the country, most of them were taken in by relatives. Ten percent live in collective accommodation. The country is struggling with an inflation rate of around 40 percent - the highest in Europe. Gas prices have increased by 380 percent in one year.

Moldova and Ukraine are EU accession candidates. According to a recommendation by the EU Commission, accession negotiations with both countries should only begin once they have fulfilled further reform requirements. It is about judicial reforms and stronger fight against corruption. Moldova has stipulated neutrality in its constitution - internationally, however, the republic has clearly joined in the criticism of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Federal Foreign Office on the Republic of Moldova

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