French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz showed Ukraine their “full support” on Monday as they visited Berlin’s symbolically important Brandenburg Gate, illuminated in Ukraine’s national colours, AFP saw.
Asked about the message he intended to send with the leaders’ act, Macron replied “full support for Ukraine” as he and Scholz approached around 200 people gathered nearby.
Some were draped in Ukraine’s blue and yellow national colours and chanted “Mariupol”, a southeastern Ukrainian city devastated by Russian strikes.
The Brandenburg Gate formed a central part of the wall that separated east and west Berlin. It symbolised the Cold War’s “Iron Curtain” that divided the world into capitalist and communist blocs.
Some Ukrainians in the crowd criticised the French and German governments for being too close with Russia, which invaded its neighbour on February 24.
“I would like to see more courage,” Tania, a 40-year-old doctor who has lived in Germany for 25 years, told AFP.
“I understand they (Macron and Scholz) fear for their own citizens, but we mustn’t underestimate Russia,” she said, adding that Moscow could attack Poland or the Baltic states next.
“People in the West are scared because of soaring prices and the fear of a third world war.”
Scholz in particular has come under fire for arms deliveries to Ukraine deemed insufficient and Germany’s reliance on Russian energy imports.
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