Sigmar Gabriel, who served as Germany’s top diplomat from 2017 to 2018, says the current government in Berlin can and should defend itself against “conspiracy theories” leveled at it by the likes of Ukrainian Ambassador Andrey Melnik.
In an op-ed published by Der Spiegel on Sunday, Gabriel described as “dangerous” the narrative peddled by the Ukrainian representative in Berlin, according to which German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had “for decades established a cobweb of contacts with Russia,” allegedly involving members of the current German government.
The former foreign minister said that he took Melnik’s ‘cobweb’ reference to mean that Steinmeier and the whole of Merkel’s office had helped Moscow “co-organize” its lobby in the country – an allegation Gabriel dismissed as “untruthful and malicious.” According to him, the previous government “had done more than others in Europe to support Ukraine.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quick to comment on Gabriel’s article. In a Telegram post, she argued that people like Melnik “with exactly the same ideology, though not in the guise of ambassadors, but rather armed with assault rifles and with ‘Azov’ patches, have been terrorizing people with Ukrainian and Russian passports in Ukraine as well as threatening Russia for the past eight years.”