Opposition politicians have accused Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of being unfit for her job
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has faced a wave of criticism after claiming at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that Germany is at war with Russia. The comment led opposition politicians to question whether she is fit for the job.
"A statement by Baerbock that Germany is at war with Russia shows that she is not suited for her job," Sahra Wagenknecht, a German MP and the former head of the Left Party's faction in the Bundestag, wrote on Twitter on Friday. A foreign minister should be a "top diplomat" and "not act like an elephant in a China shop," the lawmaker added, accusing Baerbock of "trampling" on Germany's reputation.
During the Tuesday debate, Baerbock said European nations were "fighting a war against Russia" and must do more to defend Ukraine.
Germany needs a foreign minister who is capable of acting "as a responsible diplomat and not a firebrand" amid conflict in Europe, said Alice Weidel, the co-chair of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AFD) faction in the Bundestag.
Weidel accused Baerbock of being incapable of acting on the diplomatic stage, saying Berlin needs a top diplomat who represents Germany's interests exclusively.
Meanwhile, a regional lawmaker from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the president of the German-Hungarian association, Gerhard Papke, accused Baerbock of being "completely politically insane" for making such a statement.
Left MP Selim Dagdelen demanded Chancellor Olaf Scholz provide an "immediate" explanation on whether Baerbock had his government's mandate "for her declaration of war" and suggested the minister was a threat to the security of German citizens.
Neither Baerbock, nor Scholz, have responded to the criticism so far. Germany's Foreign Ministry maintained Berlin is not a party to the conflict between Kiev and Moscow in a statement to the Bild tabloid.
"Supporting Ukraine in exercising its individual right for self-defense... does not make Germany a party to the conflict," it said, pointing to the UN Charter. It said Moscow's offensive in Ukraine is "a war against the European peace and order" and this is what Baerbock had meant.
In the wake of Baerbock's Tuesday statement, Moscow said that the German minister's words only show that the West had been planning this conflict all along for years.