Klitschko Comes Out Swinging: Germany ‘Betrayed’ Ukraine for Putin’s Gas, Says Ex-Boxing Champ

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine lands a right to the face of Chris Arreloa during their WBC World Championship Heavyweight at the Staples Center on September 26, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Klitschko won by a TKO in the 10th Round. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Bongarts/Getty …
Donald Miralle/Bongarts/Getty Images

Former heavyweight champion of the world turned mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko has claimed that elites in Germany have been bought off by Russia to “betray” Ukraine.

Vitali Klitschko, 50, who has served as the mayor of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv since 2014 after retiring from boxing, penned an article in a leading German tabloid on Monday to call out the “political control” Vladimir Putin holds over the centre of European power.

“The billions that Russia has invested to buy German corporations, ex-politicians and lobbyists have paid off for Vladimir Putin,” the former heavyweight champ wrote in an article entitled “Germany Betrays its Friends”, in the Bild newspaper.

The Kyiv mayor said that there is “huge disappointment” in Ukraine over Germany’s decision to block Estonia from sending weapons to his country and its failure to scrap the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia, which aside from enriching Russia, will effectively sidestep Ukraine by transporting gas instead under the Baltic Sea.

Klitschko went on to echo criticisms levied by former President Donald Trump, who criticised the fact that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder — who initially signed off on the pipeline — became a highly paid executive on the Nord Stream 2 after leaving office.

“Germany should ensure that lobbyists, such as former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, are prohibited by law from continuing to work for the Russian regime. These would be sanctions that would really hurt many!” the boxing great wrote.

“Where does the German government actually stand? On the side of freedom and thus on the side of Ukraine? Or at the side of the aggressor? Clear signals from the most important country in Europe are now needed!” he demanded.

Klitschko’s assessment was backed up by Brexit leader Nigel Farage on Tuesday, who told Fox News: “Germany has made itself almost wholly dependent on Russian gas. If Putin turns off the gas supply, the German car industry closes down overnight… so Germany is really playing softball with this one.”

While the recently installed leader of Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats, has said that Germany may abandon the Nord Stream 2 pipeline should Russia invade Ukraine, Germany has taken a notably softer stance against possible Russian aggression than other key NATO allies.

Calling for “prudence”, Scholz said on Sunday: “No one should harbour the illusion that there is any step that has no consequences for us.”

While attempting to transition to supposedly green energy, Germany has banned fracking for natural gas and decided to bet against nuclear power, closing down half of its reactors this year, with a full phase-out expected next year. The move has left the country largely beholden to Russia for its energy, which supplies around half of its gas imports.

“The decision to phase out nuclear and coal at the same time has made Germany fully dependent on Russian gas and vulnerable to the possibility that Russia could use energy as a weapon,” Gustav Gressel, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations told the Wall Street Journal.

Yet again, this development was forecasted by former President Donald Trump who said that Germany’s insistence on relying on Russian gas would leave them captives” of Vladimir Putin.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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