German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s claim that Europe is at war with Russia continues to cause a stir, with several high-ranking political figures across the continent—and even those within her own country—sprinting to distance themselves from her comments, which increasingly are being regarded as reckless and deranged.
In her statements on Tuesday, January 24th, during the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Foreign Minister Baerbock said that Germany and the collective West are “fighting a war against Russia,” calling for cohesion among Western partners in disagreements over tank deliveries to Ukraine.
Following Baerbock’s statement, several notables—including Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, CSU General Secretary Martin Huber, and others—have either directly attacked her comments or at the very least counter-signaled them.
CSU General Secretary Martin Huber said, “Annalena Baerbock is a massive security risk for our country,” adding that anyone who discusses German involvement in the war is talking Germany into war, the Bavarian-based daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.
Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) co-leader Tino Chrupalla, in a statement, called for Baerbock’s dismissal, saying that she “is jeopardizing Germany’s existence with her unprofessional and cheeky behavior.”
Croatian President Zoran Milanović (EPP) leveled particularly sharp criticism against the German foreign minister’s statements, calling her remarks a “kind of madness,” before insisting that Croatia would in “no way” be dragged into what he described as a “proxy war” between NATO and Russia. Then, rather sardonically, the Croatian president wished Germany better luck this time around than it had in its previous armed conflict with Russia during WWII.
“The German foreign minister says we must be united, because I quote, we are at war with Russia. I didn’t know that. Maybe Germany is at war with Russia, but then, good luck. Maybe this time it turns out better than 70-odd years ago,” he quipped.
Milanović expressed dismay at Baerbock’s comments and questioned whether her remarks were crafted to undermine Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD).
“If we are at war with Russia, then let’s see what we need to do. But we won’t ask Germany for its opinion,” Milanović said.
“Let them figure out who is the actual chancellor over there. I’ve been in politics for a long time, and our country has been through a lot, but I’ve never seen this kind of madness before,” the president added.
Milanović, who serves as the supreme commander of the Croatian army, has long been highly critical of the collective West’s approach to the Russo-Ukrainian war, arguing earlier this month the EU’s sanctions against Russia are “absurd,” and “can achieve nothing.” He also pledged not to be a “slave to America” by acquiescing to every demand it asks of its NATO partners.
In his latest remarks, Milanović suggested that the provision of Western tanks to Ukraine would work only to protract the armed conflict. Speaking about the battle tanks, he said: “Russian or American, they burn just the same. Those tanks may burn, or they may reach Crimea, but Croatia will have nothing to do with it.”
The sentiments expressed by Milanović were echoed by Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, when he told members of the press: “We are not at war with anybody, we do not want to be at war with anybody. We want to stay out of this war, and the security of Hungary and the Hungarian people is the most important thing for us.”