The leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Armin Laschet, who replaced incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel, supported the idea of enlarging the EU and giving Ukraine a European prospect.

In his first interview since his election as the new party leader, the politician made several statements about increasing support for Ukraine. In particular, he considers it expedient to maintain the sanctions regime against the Russian Federation and promote the rapprochement of Kyiv and Brussels.

“We have a great interest in the stability, sovereignty and modernisation of Ukraine, so we must support Ukraine on its difficult path and open up a European prospect for it,” Laschet said.

In a conversation with journalists, the CDU leader categorically denied rumours about his pro-Russian position and asked “not to label.”

In confirmation of his position, he noted that he criticised the Russian Federation for the occupation of Crimea, the armed forces in eastern Ukraine, for the poisoning and imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, and also directly stated “his support for EU sanctions against Russia since we (Germany and the EU) cannot accept the violation of borders and the use of force against other states in Europe.”

At the same time, the politician spoke in favour of completing the construction of Nord Stream 2, which he considers an economic project, although he added that Ukraine’s geopolitical interests must be taken into account in this matter.

According to Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk, Laschet’s statement is the first extremely encouraging news because so far none of the influential members of the CDU, let alone party leaders, have so openly used the term “European prospect” in relation to Ukraine.

As a reminder, the election of a new CDU leader took place in January this year. The congress participants supported the candidacy of 59-year-old Minister-President of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet. He is now one of the most likely candidates for the chancellor post from the conservative CDU/CSU bloc in the September elections to the Bundestag.

Bohdan Marusyak

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