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Ukrainian Ambassador calls for an “Airlift 2.0” from Berlin

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After two weeks of war in his home country, the Ukrainian ambassador Andriy Melnyk urgently requested Germany’s help in front of the House of Representatives in Berlin. Melnyk called for a stop to the import of Russian raw materials, an honest debate on Germany’s Russia policy and concrete aid measures. “We need a supply corridor to Ukraine to supply people with medicine and food,” the diplomat told the state parliament on Thursday. “We need a Berlin Airlift 2.0, only this time by land.” The diplomat was referring to the help that the Western Allies gave to Berlin after World War II.

“We all learned in our history books how brave this city was when the Soviets introduced a blockade,” recalled the Ukrainian ambassador from the years 1948/49. “Today, many Ukrainians feel the same as the Germans back then. And we ask you to do everything possible to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities,” Melnyk said.

“You can’t let us down. We are there. We fight. For us, for our lives, for our children. But we also fight for you. We also fight for their freedom,” Melnyk said to applause from deputies.

“We are waiting for your contribution so that the German government tightens the sanctions against Putin. A lot has been done, but it is still not enough,” said the Ukrainian diplomat. A stop on the import of Russian raw materials must come immediately.

“We call on businessmen in Berlin to freeze their business activities in Russia, at least for the time being, while Putin is waging this war against Ukrainian civilians. Help us put an end to this Armageddon,” said Melnyk, who not only showed photos of bombed cities like Mariupol, but also of Ukrainian children killed in the war. “Putin, you are a murderer, you will burn in hell for this, forever,” he said.

Ukrainians wondered why the international community was unable to stop him in time and why he had been courted in Germany for so many years. “Why did German politicians also make their aggressive policy socially acceptable?” The Russian policy of Germany failed miserably. “Through appeasement, the political class has not been able to prevent a great war in the heart of Europe, the worst since 1945,” the Ukrainian ambassador said.

“Today it would be hypocritical to say, ‘oh, we were wrong about these Putin plans.’ It is hypocritical to hastily distance yourself from this collective failure,” Melnyk said. Germany needs an honest debate, a review of all connections with Russia, he demanded. “But what we need most are the right decisions, which must be made today so that this political fiasco does not happen again.”

Ukrainians hoped that politicians in Berlin would recognize them as a European cultural nation with its own history. “It also means that the Germans must never again look at them through Russian glasses,” Melnyk said. This also applies to the appreciation of the Ukrainian victims of the Nazi terror regime. “We ask you to approve today the construction of a monument in memory of at least eight million Ukrainians who were killed by the Third Reich and 2.5 million Ukrainian forced laborers.”

Melnyk also formulated concrete expectations for the cultural scene in Berlin: Berlin’s theaters, opera houses and concert halls should open their repertoire to Ukrainian composers and poets. “We want to establish the Ukrainian cultural institute in Berlin,” Melnyk said. “And I look forward to your active support so that we can maintain the facility.” (dpa)


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