Wikipedia's Frank-Walter Steinmeier; 2022 Kyiv visit says:

In April 2022, Steinmeier abandoned plans to visit Kyiv after admitting he would not be welcome in Ukraine in what was seen as a serious snub for one of Germany’s senior politicians. At the time, German news media cited Ukrainian officials as saying that the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky would refuse to meet Steinmeier if he came to Kyiv.142 Ukraine had previously criticized Steinmeier for his connections to Russia and his role in strengthening German-Russian relations.143

142Financial Times, April 12, 2022 German president scraps Ukraine visit after admitting he would not be welcome (paywalled)

143DW News, April 12, 2022 German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to Kyiv 'not wanted'

Question: Any adverse effects/repercussions due to Ukraine's "serious snub" of German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier lasting longer than a few news cycles so far?

In the context of a war where conditions and battles are changing day-by-day it seemed obvious that "long term" would be understood as longer than a few news cyclses but less than a month (the time between the snub and today) but there seems to be existential outrage at my use of the word "long term" since without context it might be seen as much longer than a month.

So I've removed "long term" from the title of the question and replaced it with "beyond a few news cycles.

and videos


3 Answers 3


Some important background information: in the German politicial system the president is formally one of the most senior government officials but has very little practical power. He is mostly a representative figure. A rough analogy would be the British queen in the UK.

So my interpretation is that when Steinmeier announced his visit the Ukraine said 'no thanks, we would prefer a German politician who has actual decision power'. Formally Germany felt insulted by this and made some according statements but they realized that in practice the Ukraine is correct. In consequence both the head of the opposition Friedrich Merz and the foreign minister Annalena Baerbock travelled to Ukraine. I would not expect any further consequences of the refusal to welcome Steinmeier.

  • 2
    "I would not expect any further consequences..." So far there does not seem to be any change in German politics over the last weeks. Parliament voted for more military help and the government is supplying it. However, it's difficult to estimate if something has really changed. There is no comparison with a world where this incident didn't happen but everything else stayed the same. May 12, 2022 at 9:09
  • 1
    It would be terribly dangerous for Ukraine if their public image slides from 'plucky' to 'demanding and tiresome.' There have been public comments that Melnyk behaves like the Soviet ambassador in the GDR -- without the Soviet Army to back him up.
    – o.m.
    May 13, 2022 at 5:15
  • but they realized that in practice the Ukraine is correct. is an ignorant opinion. Snubbing a senior official, even if they don't have decision making power, is a politically naive move because such persons of high status are often sent on fact-finding mission by the real decision makers, and sometimes even empowered to make some decisions. Moreover, wooing any politician to your side is politics and diplomacy 101.
    – sfxedit
    Mar 20, 2023 at 11:46

Possibly. Depends on what one expects Germany to deliver. From the public statements (and the abrasive ambassador is at least as relevant as the visit snub), it seems that Ukraine wants to decide what aid Germany is going to give and when, not the other way around.

  • Germany wasn't going to cut gas imports, certainly not while Ukraine was accepting money for gas transit. (The latter might be changing these days. Politico)
  • The Ukrainian ambassador is a frequent visitor on TV talk shows, but he said that he found it difficult to get meetings with government officials. Normally, it is the other way around. (DW, in German.)
  • While the German Chancellor refused to visit Ukraine before this was cleared up, the leader of the opposition made a visible visit just before a regional election. That might have gotten his party a couple of percent at the polls, but it does not make for smooth contacts between the actual governments.
  • The Netherlands have promised to supply five self-propelled howitzers, Germany has promised seven. A total of 18 crews for 12 SPH will be trained by Germany. This has started now, graduation will take about one and a half months. A self-propelled howitzer is considerably more complex than the 100 towed howitzers from the US and others. One could argue that Germany should have found more units -- having only seven to spare is either a half-hearted search or an even more dire state of the Bundeswehr than previously assumed (but where are the crash production programs, then?).
  • 1
    "One could argue that Germany should have found more units, comparing the relative size of the two countries..." The argumentation by the German defense minister was that they have to keep sufficient machinery for their own defense. Given the poor equipment level of the German force, that simply might have been the maximum they can give. At least that what they seem to suggest. May 12, 2022 at 8:40
  • @Trilarion, "one could argue" is pretty weak. But when Germany cannot find another dozen howitzers, that shows either disturbingly low stocks or not enough effort searching. I'll edit.
    – o.m.
    May 12, 2022 at 10:10

None that I can see. The sanctions by Germany continue at the same slow pace as before. So does the military aid.


Held regular talks with 🇩🇪 Chancellor @Bundeskanzler . Talked about defensive aid, cooperation in the energy sector, increasing sanctions on the Russian aggressor. We appreciate the high level of dialogue with 🇩🇪 and support in our struggle!

Volodymyr Zelensky (President of Ukraine), Twitter, May 11, 2022: https://twitter.com/zelenskyyua/status/1524435735083995137

While visiting Kyiv yesterday, @ABaerbock [Annalena Baerbock (Foreign Minister of Germany)] stated 3 important things: 1)🇩🇪 reduces dependency on 🇷🇺 energy to zero forever, 2) Berlin plans to supply 🇺🇦 w/ modern tanks and howitzers, 3)🇩🇪 insists on full membership of 🇺🇦 in 🇪🇺. Kudos to🇩🇪, reliable friend of 🇺🇦 & strong 🇪🇺leader

Halyna Yanchenko (Member of Parliament of Ukraine), Twitter, May 11, 2022: https://twitter.com/halynayanchenko/status/1524315442919182336

I’m incredibly glad to be here in free #Kyiv. The courage required of the people of Ukraine to uphold this freedom is moving. My message is clear: #Ukraine can count on our support, not only militarily and not only today. - @ABaerbock 1/2

We will also be there for #Ukraine when this war is over, when Vladimir Putin has failed to meet his goal and Ukraine is shaping its future in #freedom. Thank you @ZelenskyyUa for the warm welcome in Kyiv! - @ABaerbock 2/2

Zelensky and Baerbock

Germany at NATO (@GermanyNATO, Latest Tweets from the German Delegation to NATO). Twitter, May 10, 2022: https://mobile.twitter.com/GermanyNATO/status/1524079739027304450


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .