Germany has been furiously condemned by close EU allies for its inaction during the escalating Ukraine crisis. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis took Germany to task as he urged Berlin to change its approach. He told CNN that a possible conflict between Russia and Ukraine will spill into a “war of Europe”.
Berlin has borne the brunt of criticism this week after refusing to send weapons or military aid to Ukraine.
CNN’s Erin Burnett questioned whether Germany should be seen to be more “in coordination with other European allies” amid questions over Berlin’s loyalty.
She said: “Let me press you on what Germany is up to at this point. Berlin has been getting some criticism for its stance of not wanting to provide military assistance in the form of weapons, for example, to Ukraine.”
Mr Landsbergis responded: “When we walk about the possibility of war in Ukraine, those in Europe have to understand it is not the war against Ukraine, it is the war of Europe that will be fought in Ukraine.
“It is in every country’s interest to support Ukraine so it can fight off a possible invasion that would be on the European border.
“The German government is still a rather new government.”
He continued: “They are trying to continue the legacy of the last government of 16 years but the reality that greeted this new government is not the same reality that met the last government.
“The stability is no longer there and the world is rapidly changing. The new German government needs to adapt to a new reality.”
Poland joined Lithuania in attacking Germany for its lack of support in Ukraine, as Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told Spanish daily El Mundo: “I do not expect Germany to be involved in this conflict if the new government decides so, but if they refuse to help Ukraine, I will ask them to say it out loud.
“Evasive statements such as ‘we will not send weapons to Ukraine because it is a conflict zone’ are not a serious policy in the current circumstances.”
The blunt warnings to Germany come as Russia has massed some 120,000 troops along its border with Ukraine.
Even politicians inside Germany have lashed out at Mr Scholz’s handling of the crisis.
Norbert Röttgen, a member of the Bundestag’s foreign policy committee for the CDU, urged the German Chancellor to block Nord Stream 2 in the event of an invasion.
He said: “Threatening sanctions does not work if the other side can tell you are afraid to spell out what they are.
“It has to be clear that authorising Nord Stream 2 is out of the question if there is a war.
“We are on the cusp of the most dramatic situation since the end of the second world war: a war in Europe that would change the geopolitical balance on our continent.
“Chancellor Scholz needs to make it clear he understands the historic significance of this moment, or he risks gambling away Germany’s reputation as a reliable partner of the west.”