The country should have been encouraged to become neutral, AFD leader claims
Alice Weidel, the head of Germany's right-wing Alternative for Germany (AFD) party, has named what she believes to be the West's mistake with respect to Ukraine. According to the politician, Kiev's allies should have fostered an image for the Eastern European nation as a neutral state, instead of dragging it into NATO and the EU.
In an interview with Germany's ZDF news channel published on Sunday, Weidel was asked to explain why some members of the AFD have been offering justifications for Russia's offensive against Ukraine or have even been "spread[ing] Kremlin propaganda." The AFD parliamentary fraction head replied by saying that "in our party and fraction it is undisputed that what we are seeing is an aggressive war by Russia against Ukraine that is absolutely against international law."
Weidel noted, however, that when talking about today's conflict in the Eastern European nation, one has to keep in mind the historical background leading up to current events.
"The incorporation of Ukraine and the plans to integrate Ukraine into NATO, as well as the EU, have for decades been something that the Russians would never accept," the German politician clarified.
According to her, Moscow has always made it clear that it will not accept an "adversarial power in its backyard." Weidel added that "Ukraine has been a red line for decades [for Russia]."
The AFD fraction chief went on to argue that the West has handled this highly sensitive issue "recklessly" and made a mistake by not setting Ukraine on a course toward becoming a neutral country.
Weidel emphasized that her party sees the current conflict in Ukraine as extremely dangerous, not least for Germany, which is not as far away from the battlefields as the US is. The politician also warned that a Cold-war-like mentality of opposing blocs is resurfacing, with Russia and China developing ever closer ties with each other. The AFD fraction leader opined that such a scenario alone was not in Germany's best interest.
In late March, Steffen Kotre, an AFD MP in the Bundestag, claimed that the US was using Ukraine as a bridgehead to destabilize Russia. The lawmaker also noted at the time that "if we talk about that, we should also talk about the bio labs that are directed against Russia" - an apparent reference to Moscow's claims that the US had set up such secret facilities in the Eastern European country.
The following month, Tino Chrupalla, chairman and lead spokesman for the AFD, spoke of "Russia's justified security interests," adding that the conflict in Ukraine had "many fathers."
Chrupalla has also repeatedly demanded that the German government lift sanctions against Russia, as those hurt German businesses and citizens the most, according to the AFD politician.
When asked anew to comment on the individual AFD members' remarks, Weidel reiterated that the party considered Russia's military operation in Ukraine an "aggressive war in violation of international law," adding that those who publicly say something that deviates from the party line are dealt with "internally." The politician, however, refused to go into detail as to what kind of consequences such party members face.