A good year after the Russian attack on Ukraine, SPD party leader Lars Klingbeil and faction leader Rolf Mützenich have arrived in the war zone for their first visit. The two arrived early Monday morning in a special train in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv for talks with officials from the Ukrainian government and parliament later in the day.
The SPD is in a difficult position in Ukraine because of its Russia policy before the invasion. It is accused of having misjudged Russian President Vladimir Putin for decades and relying too heavily on cooperation with Russia. However, both Klingbeil and Mützenich have already openly admitted misjudgments. In December, the SPD wants to redefine its foreign policy and thus also its attitude towards Russia at a party conference.
In the Ukraine, Mützenich has repeatedly been offended because of his reluctance to deliver arms and his promotion of diplomacy. The Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk only attacked him sharply on Twitter in January. "He (Mützenich) will forever go down in history as Russia's most valuable asset in blocking aid to Ukraine since the start of full-scale Russian aggression," he wrote.
Mützenich: Was put on a "terrorist list".
In July 2022, the "Center against Disinformation of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine" put Mutzenich on a list of 70 international personalities accused of spreading Russian "narratives". Mützenich then accused the Ukrainian government of putting him on a "terrorist list," which led to "secondary threats." The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry rejected this.
For security reasons, the exact program of the visit was not initially published. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, several high-ranking SPD politicians have been in Ukraine - above all Chancellor Olaf Scholz in June 2022. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius traveled there just a few days after taking office.