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News of the day: Andrij Melnyk, Peter Feldmann, smugglers from the English Channel


The Ukrainian ambassador will say goodbye to Germany soon. And the mayor of Frankfurt am Main is stepping down, but will remain in office for another seven months. This is the situation on Tuesday evening.


Outsiders in the State Department?

For some, Andriy Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassador in Germany, got on the nerves of the many politicians in the experienced capital of Berlin.

For the others, Reinhart Stapfer, the fictional character of the same name from Jakob Bosshart's book »Rufer in der Wüste«, who repeatedly admonished the Germans to send weapons to Ukraine instead of warm words.

Wherever Melnyk appeared, whenever he spoke up, however he argued, he polarized.

He didn't skimp on swear words, he called the Federal Chancellor "offended liverwurst" (for which he has since apologized in a top-level discussion with my colleague Markus Feldenkirchen).

He called a former brigadier general and Merkel adviser a "pathetic loser";

"Shut up," he advised left-wing politician Fabio di Masi.

He dubbed a group of television philosophers who questioned the West's arms deliveries as "pseudo-intellectual failures."

Melnyk also offended with statements about the controversial Ukrainian partisan leader Stepan Bandera and the Holocaust.

Enlarge image

From the attack department to the Foreign Ministry cooling pool: Andriy Melnyk

Photo: Kay Nietfeld / dpa

All of this may not correspond to the finely honed vocabulary of a career diplomat, but would Melnyk have achieved so much if he had followed the usual manners?

Would he have been invited to almost every other talk show to explain Ukraine's position there?

Could he have built up the pressure that eventually led to the federal government reluctantly supplying arms and even publishing a meticulous list of every military piece of equipment that crossed the border eastbound?

I dare to doubt it.

From his point of view, Melnyk got the maximum out of it.

On the other hand, many will have secretly agreed with the Secretary of State for Justice from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Friedrich Straetmanns (left), when he tweeted in April: "You are a bad to disgusting ambassador!" Straetmanns later deleted the tweet and apologized.

The time for endless apologies may now be coming to an end, because Melnyk is apparently to be withdrawn from Berlin and become deputy foreign minister in Kyiv.

According to Kyiv, this should not be understood as a dismissal, but rather as a career step.

Perhaps Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj just wanted to protect the Germans from another open letter from Richard David Precht, Juli Zeh or Ranga Yogeshwar – this time directly to Melnyk?

  • Read more here: Ambassador Melnyk rejects allegations of downplaying the Holocaust

And here is more news and background information on the war in Ukraine:

  • Almost 150,000 Ukrainian children and young people in German schools:

    The number of enrollments in German schools continues to rise: In the meantime, more than 146,000 schoolchildren from Ukraine who fled from the war are being taught in Germany.

  • The reconstruction of Ukraine should follow seven principles:

    Russia's war of aggression continues, but framework conditions for the reconstruction of Ukraine have already been agreed in Lugano.

    Great Britain and Germany want to host the upcoming summits.

  • Despite Russian attacks, Zelenskyy is thinking about reconstruction:

    The Ukrainian president does not want to wait until the end of the Russian war of aggression to rebuild his country.

    Zelenskyy sent a declaration of war to Russia's army: "We have to break them." The overview.

  • Find all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine here: The News Update


Peter Embarrassingly packs up

One thinks that because of the many high-rise buildings, Frankfurt am Main is a metropolis, a city of millions.

In fact, only 750,000 people live there, it's not even the state capital of Hesse.

If there weren't so many bankers there who give it a polyglot flair, Frankfurt am Main would probably never have overcome the slightly provincial image of Fressgass, Blauem Bock and Appelwoi.

Nationwide it is only the fifth largest city.

Everything indicates that the largest mayor in Germany has been Peter Feldmann (SPD).

Not only because he took the trophy from the hands of the player Sebastian Rode after winning the final in the Europa League by Eintracht Frankfurt at the welcome party, Feldmann was often called "Peter Peinlich" in the past.

Productions on his own account were among the core competencies of the mayor.

Profile neuroses and embarrassment are one thing, job haggling and greed for profit are another.

And Feldmann was also accused of this, not only from opposition circles, but also from his own ranks.

The list of allegations is so long that it would go beyond the scope of this newsletter.

So I limit myself to a small selection:

  • Feldmann's connections to the social organization AWO are said to have played a role in ensuring that his partner and later wife Zübeyde received the maximum salary in their tariff group for running an AWO daycare center.

    At least he should have known about it.

  • Later, Zübeyde Feldmann also received a company car from the AWO.

  • In addition, a person responsible for the Frankfurt AWO district association is said to have supported Feldmann in the 2018 mayoral election campaign by raising donations – the same person who later raised the wife’s salary.

  • In August 2020, the public prosecutor's office began investigations - not against the Feldmanns, but against an AWO employee entrusted with the process.

    In March, the public prosecutor's office finally brought charges against Feldmann himself for accepting an advantage.

Enlarge image

Leaves SPD membership and official business on hold: Frankfurt-am-Main Mayor Feldmann


Boris Roessler / dpa

None of this caused the mayor to resign from his position as head of the German financial center.

"I'm not corrupt," is his mantra.

If the public prosecutor's office actually files charges, he wants to "let go" of his membership in the SPD.

The smallest price, so to speak, that he was willing to pay and which even made a profit - after all, it saves the membership fee.

Feldmann has now taken the opportunity to rest his official business from January.

“I would like to spare the city of Frankfurt an agonizing and expensive voting procedure – and take the opportunity to bring my official business to a proper conclusion after more than ten years,” wrote Feldmann.

He will hand over an "orderly house".

If you really want to see a tidy house, why not go to Frankfurt an der Oder.

It's nice there too.

  • Read more here: Resignation in January 2023 – Frankfurt's Lord Mayor Feldmann announces his resignation


Smugglers cut off the water

What has British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's controversial plan to fly out of Great Britain to Rwanda for their asylum procedure to do with a major raid near Osnabrück this morning?


It is a well-known fact that in our complex, globalized world, everything is connected to everything else.

That should also apply to the raids today, which were carried out by around 900 police officers in Germany, England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands in the morning.

They were linked to the fact that many people, with the help of smuggling gangs, are trying to cross the English Channel from France to Britain.

This has annoyed Johnson for a long time, because France is actually a safe country from which one would not have to move to Great Britain to submit one's asylum request.

As a deterrent, Johnson drafted the Rwanda plan.

France, on the other hand, was annoyed with Germany, from France's point of view a haven for gangs of people smugglers, who were apparently too carelessly allowed to do their thing here.

Enlarge image

British policeman in Dungeness when a boat with migrants arrives: Germany as a haven for gangs of people smugglers?


My colleagues Jürgen Dahlkamp, ​​Hubert Gude, Roman Lehberger and Hannes Schrader have traced how the pressure from France's Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, led to the German security authorities coming to terms.

Under the leadership of the federal police, action is now being taken against members of one of the leading criminal networks, which is said to have smuggled up to 10,000 people in inflatable boats across the English Channel in the past 12 to 18 months.

Because many of the alleged perpetrators are armed and considered violent, the federal police sent their elite unit GSG 9. Several special forces were also deployed.

It was about 18 suspects and more than 20 objects in Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and Bremen.

The smugglers are said to have earned up to 75,000 euros from the north coast of France to southern England – per crossing.

Most recently, the European Court of Human Rights blocked Johnson's Rwanda plan.

It is quite possible that the German federal police have now also contributed to the fact that no one is flown to Rwanda anymore and that asylum seekers no longer undertake the dangerous crossing across the English Channel due to a lack of opportunities.

But then they will probably apply for asylum in France.

Was the interior minister aware of this in his resentment against Germany?

  • Read more here: International strike against gangs of smugglers - with rubber boats from Osnabrück across the English Channel

(Would you like to receive the "Situation in the evening" conveniently by e-mail in your inbox? Order the daily briefing as a newsletter here.)

What else is important today

  • Curevac is suing Biontech over a corona vaccine:

    The Tübingen-based company Curevac sees its patents being infringed by its competitor Biontech.

    That is why it is now going to court against the much more successful competition from Mainz in the corona pandemic.

  • Minister of Justice Buschmann wants to halve the substitute prison sentence:

    Anyone who cannot or does not want to pay a fine can serve it over the substitute prison sentence.

    Minister of Justice Buschmann now wants to reduce the duration.

    In some cases, however, fare dodgers will probably continue to be imprisoned.

  • Ukrainian mathematician receives Fields Medal:

    The Fields Medal is to mathematics what Nobel Prizes are to science.

    One of the 2022 winners is the 37-year-old Ukrainian Maryna Viazovska.

  • Maria wins against Niemeier and is in the semi-finals:

    They fought a three-set fight: In the German duel against debutant Jule Niemeier, 34-year-old Tatjana Maria made it into the semi-finals - it is the greatest success of her career.

What we recommend today at SPIEGEL+

  • This is how expensive energy is becoming for consumers:

    on the energy markets there is a mix of actual scarcity and the fear that prices will skyrocket.

    End customers will have to pay significantly more - and swimming pools could remain cold or close.

  • Blind investigators and a reckless right-wing extremist:

    In 1991, Ghanaian Samuel Yeboah died in an arson attack on a home for asylum seekers.

    It was not until three decades later that a right-wing extremist was investigated.

    Can he still be convicted?

  • How the Hitlers came to Ohio:

    In Circleville you see Hitler everywhere - streets bear this name, a park, a pond, the cemetery.

    Just why?

    The reason lies in the history of the American town.

  • How to overcome stage fright and fear of failure:

    The psychiatrist Michael Bohne coaches musicians, athletes and managers who want to overcome their fear of public appearances.

    How to overcome your panic?

    By gently tapping, the expert recommends.

Which is less important today

Cable and print reloaded: we have a great offer

Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/ dpa

  • The Cold War is back, »Top Gun« is showing in the cinema again and our 16-year-old daughter was listening to Kool and the Gang and Earth Wind & Fire at her party over the weekend (no, not from the old man's record shelf, but from the Spotify Friends Playlist): The 80's are back.

    This fits in with today's report that landline phones are also on the rise again.

    Here, too, I felt personally beamed back.

    In a previous life I learned a sensible job: telecommunications craftsman at the Deutsche Bundespost.

    Screw on TAE sockets, replace rotary dial devices in Swabian households with modern push-button devices, install communication systems with three devices in car dealerships.

    So if everything goes backwards, tomorrow the message might be: Germans are rediscovering print.

Typo of the day

, now corrected: Foreign Minister Anna-Lena Bearbock visiting the German »Minusma« troops in Mali (in April 2022). 

Cartoon of the day:

cold shower

And tonight?

21 years ago today, the first wife of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl took her own life.

She suffered from an allergy to light, but didn't she also suffer from politics, from her role as a "woman at the side of", ultimately from her husband?

All of that - so you think - was a completely different era, today we are much further in terms of emancipation.

Enlarge image

Hannelore and Helmut Kohl 1986: Far from being more emancipated

Photo: Heinz Wieseler / picture alliance / dpa

But that is deceptive.

"In the beginning she still had dreams of a partnership, but this fiction was lost," says her son Peter.

Hannelore Kohl was considered by many to be a conservative appendage to the power politician Kohl, who couldn't do anything, had nothing to report, who was best only there for decorative purposes.

If you look at the touching documentary by the former SPIEGEL editor-in-chief Stefan Aust and his co-author Daniel Bäumler, you will discover a surprising number of parallels to today.

The political establishment is by no means as enlightened as it pretends, the bandages are sometimes tougher, the personal injuries are often more serious.

I highly recommend the film »Hannelore Kohl – The First Woman« from 2020.

Have a nice evening, my wonderful colleague Anna Clauss will get you back up to speed tomorrow.


yours, Janko Tietz

Here you can order the »Situation in the Evening« by e-mail.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2022-07-05

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