Ambassador of Germany to Ukraine, Mrs. Anka Feldhusen, told in the interview with KYIV NOT KIEV about whom the Germans blame for rising energy prices, how they treat Ukrainian refugees, and why they will continue to support Ukraine as long as it takes.
The cold winter of 2022-2023 will be different for Germans from previous winters.
"I just received a receipt from my electricity supplier. They have doubled the prices," says the Ambassador.
Fortunately for her, the solar panels that Ambassador Feldhusen installed on her house will start working in December. And she is not the only one. In Germany, many people have switched to energy consumption from solar panels.
"Climate change has one advantage — Germany has become sunnier," the diplomat jokes.
The war in Ukraine and the European energy crisis caused by Russia make Germans pay much more for gas. However, the Ambassador says German media focused a lot on the dependence on Russian gas, so people were well informed about the cause of energy price problems. One of them is the dependence on a single gas supplier — Russia. The German government honestly admitted this mistake.
"We have significantly reduced this dependence. We had to. And we wanted to", says the Ambassador.
After Russia's war against Ukraine started, the share of Russian gas fell from 55% to 35%, The Economist reported in May. Now, after explosions on both branches of Nord Stream, it is much less than that. Over 2022, gas imports to Germany via pipelines from Russia have gradually shrunk to practically zero.
She comments on the energy dependence on Russia: "It has been cheap and reliable for decades."
However, she admits that after February 24, Russia ceased to be a reliable partner.
In her opinion, Germany coped well with the energy crisis caused by Russian gas blackmail and outright manipulation of gas prices and supplies. There were no power cuts. People stayed warm. The Germans built two LNG terminals in a short time.
"Without Russia's war against Ukraine, we would never have switched to other sources so quickly."
She believes and calls the current energy solutions part of a larger plan to free Germany from energy dependence, not only from Russia. According to the Ambassador, this should go hand in hand with the previously planned transition to renewable energy sources. Only this transition should now be accelerated.
When asked about the circumstances under which Germany could return to the usage branches of the Nord Stream, the Ambassador answered briefly and without hesitation: "Under none."
When commenting on the conversation about peace "at any price" (the price that Ukraine will pay first), Ms. Feldhusen said: "Under the circumstances when Russia is bombing Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, there is no point in negotiations. Only Ukraine will decide when the time for negotiations is right".
Mrs. Ambassador is very proud of Germany, which sheltered Ukrainians fleeing from the war. She said the Germans were very impressed by how many Ukrainians quickly found jobs and their children went to school. Now two schools in Berlin teach in Ukrainian.
The Ambassador wanted this for a long time, but it was challenging. "And now we have it."
In May, Embassy staff stayed in the bomb shelter at every air siren. After that, it became a bit easier for the summer. But after October 10, staff goes down to the shelters very often. So it is easy to understand people who were forced to leave Ukraine in February-March to save their lives and their children's lives.
"Leaving home is never easy" as a diplomat, she understands this pain, although the circumstances under which she leaves home are not so dramatic. "Running away from war is much more disturbing."
In September, German Christian Democratic Party leader Friedrich Merz received criticism for accusing Ukrainians of "welfare tourism." Madam Ambassador believes that chasing better life could have been the option before the war started. Now people are fleeing because they fear for their lives. They leave home, adapt to a new place, and leave fathers who are forced to defend their homeland — this is what the Ambassador sees as the personal tragedy of these people.
Sometimes in the Western media, there are allegations, beneficial to Russian propaganda, that Ukraine allegedly sells Western weapons on the black market. Ms. Ambassador admits that she has never heard of such talks in Berlin. According to Ambassador Feldhusen, Ukraine strives to make the process of material support open and transparent and uses proven IT-based methods to do so.
"IT is an excellent tool for controlling the movement of supplies. And Ukraine is very good at IT," she said.
Ambassador Feldhusen is convinced that Germany should provide Ukraine with all the assistance it can.
"Ukraine is fighting for European values. Ukraine is also fighting for our freedom. And they need weapons to fight against the Russian military," she said.
KYIV NOT KIEV is an English-language news blog about Ukraine and a community of more than 30 thousand people worldwide who support Ukraine. Since the full-scale Russian invasion, KYIV NOT KIEV has exposed Russian war crimes in Ukraine, fighting Russian propaganda and disinformation. In addition, the project is known for a series of interviews with foreign ambassadors in Ukraine.
The project "KYIV NOT KIEV. Ambassadorial Season" project was implemented with the support of the Goethe-Institut in Ukraine and the "Kunst" magazine within the framework of the Mediengeist accelerator for countering disinformation, which is part of a comprehensive package of measures for which the German Foreign Office allocates funds from the additional budget for 2022 to mitigate the consequences of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.