Germany rules out territorial losses in any Ukraine peace plan

18.02.2023, 15:50

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has praised China's intention to present a peace initiative to end the war in Ukraine, but ruled out any territorial concessions to Russia.

A just peace presupposes "that the one who has violated territorial integrity, namely Russia, withdraws its troops from the occupied country," Baerbock said Saturday at the Munich Security Conference.

"World peace is based precisely on the fact that we all recognize the territorial integrity and sovereignty of every country," she added.

Germany's position is that without a complete withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine, there is no chance of an end to the almost year-long conflict. All demands to end the war by ceding territory to Russia were unacceptable, Baerbock said: "That would mean turning people into Russia's prey. We will not do that."

Echoing comments made at the conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the minister stressed that Russian President Vladimir Putin should not be rewarded for his invasion of Ukraine in order to deter imitators.

Stoltenberg specifically named China, saying Beijing was closely watching the outcome of the Ukraine war as it evaluated its own plans in "its part of the world." Concerns are growing that a Russian win in Ukraine will embolden China to use military force in its longstanding territorial claim on Taiwan. 

Earlier in Munich, China's top foreign policy official Wang Yi said Beijing would soon present a peace plan but offered no details or timetable. He will travel directly to Moscow after the conference.

Asked what chances she gave to such a Chinese push for peace, Baerbock said: "If you work for peace all year, you have to use every chance for peace."