The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany has canceled his participation in a solidarity concert with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at Bellevue Palace, organized by the Federal President. “Only Russian soloists, no Ukrainians,” Ambassador Andriy Melnyk tweeted on Sunday. “An affront. Sorry, I’ll stay away.”
The Federal President’s spokeswoman, Cerstin Gammelin, lamented Melnyk’s cancellation on Twitter. The concert offers the possibility of a common signal for Ukraine. “It’s a shame we can’t send this signal together.”
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Gammelin noted that the focus of the program was the important Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, who had just fled his homeland at the ripe old age of 84. After the official concert, Silvestrov performed a current composition on the grand piano, in which he processed the impressions of the fugue from him.
Melnyk reacts to Gammelin’s statement with a question: “WThat is why it is so difficult for the federal president to acknowledge that Russian bombs have been in the ground for so long. Cities fall and thousands of civilians are killed day and night, don’t we Ukrainians feel like “great Russian culture”?“
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the Berlin Philharmonic had invited a concert in solidarity with Ukraine for Sunday at 11 a.m. Steinmeier was unable to attend due to his corona infection and connected via video.
[Alle aktuellen Entwicklungen im Ukraine-Krieg können Sie hier in unserem Newsblog verfolgen.]
Under the direction of director Nodoka Okisawai, musicians from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Germany, among others, performed pieces by Ukrainian, Russian and Polish composers together. Lead director Kirill Petrenko had to cancel on short notice due to illness.
Melnyk and German politics: a series of upheavals
Melnyk’s decision not to participate comes in a series of rifts between Ukraine and German politics. This was recently read in a portrait of the ambassador in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung”. It reports on a conversation between Melnyk and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD), who is said to have been primarily concerned with his public image. “You only have a few hours,” Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) is reported to have told Melnyk shortly after the Russian attack, declaring that arms deliveries or Swift’s exclusion from Russia made no sense. “That was the worst conversation of my life,” Melnyk told the newspaper.
Before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj addressed the Bundestag in a video address, Melnyk unsuccessfully asked Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to react directly to the president with a government statement. And the ambassador also faced Steinmeier, last year. He then turned down an invitation from the federal president to an exhibition on Soviet prisoners of war at the German-Russian Museum in Karlshorst after Steinmeier publicly campaigned for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. In the Chancellery and the Chancellery, Melnyk was banned for years for its offensive nature, according to the “FAS”.
In a speech in the Berlin House of Representatives on March 10 this year, Melnyk testified to a “collective failure” in German politics. Appeasement with Russian President Vladimir Putin failed.
Steinmeier prepares Germany for difficult times
Even on Sunday, Steinmeier did not respond to the cancellation of Melnyk’s concert at Bellevue Palace. In his video speech, instead, he prepared the people in Germany for more difficult times and losses as a result of the Russian war of aggression. “Tougher days await us in Germany as well,” he said.
The severe sanctions imposed would inevitably bring them. “We will have to be ready to use them if our solidarity is not going to be just lip service, if it is going to be taken seriously.”
“And the whole truth is that there are still many difficulties ahead,” Steinmeier said. Despite all ongoing diplomatic efforts to end the war, the following applies: “Our solidarity and support, our steadfastness and our willingness to impose restrictions will be required for a long time.”
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“These are terrible days and weeks. We are all shocked, we are dismayed by what is happening in Ukraine,” he said. Steinmeier recalled that in his speech after his election in mid-February he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin not to underestimate the strength of democracy. “Today we know who underestimated them.” Steinmeier thanked all citizens for his solidarity with Ukrainians fleeing their country.
The Federal President showed understanding for the fears felt by many people. “In the case of the elderly, deep, horrible memories arise, in the case of the youngest, a horror never believed possible: there is war in Europe.”
No one can simply remove these fears. “But we can counter fear with something: our defense and our humanity, our desire for peace and belief in freedom and democracy, which we will never give up, which we will always defend.”
He knows that belief in freedom and democracy alone cannot stop a tank. “But I also know this: no tank can destroy this belief. No army, no regime of repression is stronger than the radiance of freedom and democracy in the minds and hearts of the people,” Steinmeier said. (teaspoon, dpa)