Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier prepared people in Germany for difficult times and losses due to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.
“We are facing tougher days in Germany too,” he said on Sunday in a video message for a Berlin Philharmonic concert for freedom and peace at Bellevue Palace. The severe sanctions imposed would inevitably lead to them. “We will have to be ready to wear them if our solidarity is not meant to be only in words if it is to be taken seriously”.
“And the whole truth is: there are still a lot of difficulties ahead of us,” said Steinmeier. Despite all ongoing diplomatic efforts to end the war, the following applies: “Our solidarity and support, our steadfastness and our willingness to make restrictions will be needed for a long time to come.”
Small cast in the great hall
The renowned orchestra, with musicians also from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, performed pieces by Ukrainian, Russian and Polish composers in a small formation in the Great Hall of the official residence of the Federal President. However, Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk was outraged that only Russian soloists, including pianist Yevgeny Kissin, performed. «An affront. Sorry I’m away, “he tweeted.
Federal president spokesman Cerstin Gammelin regretted this on Twitter. The concert offers the possibility of a common sign for Ukraine. “It’s a shame we can’t send this sign together.” Gammelin stressed that the centerpiece of the program was prominent Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, who had just escaped from his homeland at the age of 84. After the official concert, Silvestrov played a current composition on the grand piano, in which he elaborated his impressions of his flight.
Melnyk tweeted about spokeswoman Gammelin’s statement: “My dear God, why is it so difficult for the federal president to see that as long as Russian bombs fall on cities and thousands of civilians are killed day and night, we Ukrainians are not. in the mood for “great Russian culture” to have. Enough. “
Russian principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Kirill Petrenko, had to cancel on short notice due to illness. Nodoka Okisawai conducted the orchestra for him. The federal president and his wife Elke Büdenbender were also able to attend the concert only on television due to coronary heart disease. Steinmeier then spoke to the guests in a video message.
“Those are terrible days and weeks. We are all shocked, we are shocked by what is happening in Ukraine, “he said. Steinmeier recalled that in his speech after his election in mid-February, he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin not to underestimate the strength of democracy.” Today we know: he underestimated it. “Steinmeier thanked all the citizens for their solidarity with the Ukrainians fleeing their country.
“There is war in Europe”
The Federal President showed understanding for the fears many people were feeling. “The older ones have deep and horrible memories, while the younger ones have a shock they never thought possible: there is war in Europe”. No one can simply take away these fears. “But we can counter fear with something: our defense and our humanity, our desire for peace and our faith in freedom and democracy, which we will never give up, which we will always defend”.
He knows that belief in freedom and democracy alone cannot stop a tank. “But I also know this: no tank can ever destroy this belief. No army, no repressive regime is stronger than the splendor of freedom and democracy in people’s minds and hearts,” said Steinmeier.