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Manuela Schwesig: "I underestimated Putin's aggressiveness"


Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's Prime Minister recognizes her own mistakes in dealing with Russia. She rejects the suggestion to reactivate Nord Stream 1 in the SPIEGEL talk. Putin's war is unforgivable.

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Manuela Schwesig

Photo: IMAGO/Political Moments

For a long time, Manuela Schwesig represented a Moscow-friendly course.

In view of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's Prime Minister has now admitted her own misjudgments.

"From today's perspective, I would say for myself that I underestimated Putin's aggressiveness and his willingness to engage in aggressive imperialism," Schwesig said in a live interview with SPIEGEL with Melanie Amann, a member of SPIEGEL's editor-in-chief and head of SPIEGEL's capital city office.

After the beginning of the war, Schwesig was heavily criticized.

In the past, she had supported the construction of the Russo-German Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline and the creation of a foundation to facilitate the completion of the pipeline bypassing US sanctions.

"We stood by Nord Stream," said Schwesig now.

However, she also shifted responsibility for the project to the federal government, and other federal states would also have benefited from it.

Schwesig described the procedure with the foundation as a "mistake"; today she would no longer act in this way.

A committee of inquiry in the Schwerin state parliament is to clarify open questions about the foundation and the role of the state government.

When asked why she hadn't put all her cards on the table, Schwesig contradicted: "That's exactly what we did." The opposition in the state parliament - CDU, Greens, FDP and AfD - accuse the government of Schwesig of not clarifying the issues to contribute around the establishment of the foundation.

Cancellation of Nord Stream reactivation

In the SPIEGEL talk, Schwesig was not ready to discuss a possible reactivation of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline.

When asked whether she could follow the suggestion of Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer to repair Nord Stream 1 quickly, Schwesig replied: "No." She had taken the consequences.

The start of the war on February 24, 2022 was a total turning point.

“I don't believe in the discussion of whether or not to use it again for Russian gas.

The plans are different.

I don't see that either," says Schwesig.

Because: “What Putin is doing in Ukraine, with inhumane things, with so much death, with so much suffering, that is unforgivable.

This is also irreversible.

That's why we have to draw our own conclusions.«

The Nord Stream pipelines were damaged by explosions in the Baltic Sea at the end of September 2022.

The Swedish public prosecutor spoke of serious acts of sabotage.

It is still unclear who is behind it.

The 48-year-old said she wanted to represent the line in civil dialogues or at demonstrations and also explain it to the people: "I'm very clear on that.

There is no turning back.

The 24.2.

is a turning point.«

Schwesig made it clear that she would rather meet Russia with harshness than with offers to negotiate.

After the experiences of the past year, she can well understand those who say "that we have to be very clear that we have to act with a certain degree of severity and push back on Putin, and only then can talks be possible again."

However, the SPD politician pleaded for an objective discussion: "I think it's stupid if we insult one as a warmonger and the other as a naive dove of peace."

Schwesig emphasized that Putin is the aggressor in the war in Ukraine, even if the West is supplying weapons to Kyiv.

"Neither the USA nor Europe are engaged in this conflict," said Schwesig.

Putin has brutally attacked Ukraine.

It happens every day, that's the reason."

DER SPIEGEL in conversation with.... is one of several digital event formats exclusively for our subscribers, who make our work possible.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2023-01-18

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