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Far-right German politicians accused of pro-Putin ‘propaganda journey’ | Germany

Politicians from a far-right get together in Germany who’re on a go to to Russia, and plan to journey to Russian-occupied jap Ukraine, have been accused of supporting Vladimir Putin’s battle and of enterprise a “propaganda journey”.

The 5 Various für Deutschland (AfD) politicians stated their purpose was to “see for ourselves in situ the humanitarian scenario”, however had been requested to supply particulars of their go to to the get together management, which apparently knew nothing about it prematurely. The deputy chief of the get together, Peter Boehringer, stated the journey was not happening on behalf of the AfD.

Three of the group are members of state legislative assemblies, two from Saxony-Anhalt and one from North Rhine-Westphalia. In a press release posted on his Fb and Telegram accounts, Christian Blex of the AfD in North Rhine-Westphalia, one of many travellers, posted a pin displaying an intertwined German and Russian flag.

A pin showing an intertwined German and Russian flag
Christian Blex posted a pin displaying the intertwined flags. {Photograph}: Christian Blex / Fb

The every day TAZ newspaper referred to as it “particularly perfidious”, in gentle of the current experiences of mass graves found in Izium, that the get together selected to explain its go to as a humanitarian analysis journey.

The US-based Robert Lansing Institute for International Threats and Democracies Research (IGTDS), which describes itself as a non-partisan, non-profit public coverage analysis organisation, stated the journey was happening underneath the auspices of the Russian army secret service, members of whom can be accompanying the politicians to Donbas. The institute was the primary to launch the knowledge.

Hans-Thomas Tillschneider, co-head of the Saxony-Anhalt department of the AfD, and Daniel Wald, additionally a member of the Saxony-Anhalt state legislative meeting, launched a press release through the AfD faction within the meeting stressing the get together wished to “see for its personal eyes” past the reporting from the mainstream media experiences, “particularly these of the general public service broadcasters”, which it stated it seen critically.

In keeping with the IGTDS, the politicians’ go to was happening between 20 and 28 September. They had been on account of fly into the Russian port metropolis of Rostov-on-Don and to journey from there to the occupied Donbas area.

The AfD has a popularity for its pro-Russian, typically additionally pro-Putin, stance. The travelling politicians are well-known for his or her backing of sustaining German-Russian relations regardless of the battle, together with scrapping sanctions towards Russia. They’ve additionally voiced their help for opening the Nord Stream II pipeline, which was meant to supply a brand new provide of fuel from Russia to Germany along with the movement from Nord Stream I, earlier than it was scrapped by Olaf Scholz, the chancellor, simply earlier than the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine.

Tillschneider has described Putin as an “genuine bloke, an actual man with a wholesome framework of values”.

Andriy Melnyk, the outgoing ambassador of Ukraine to Germany, shared the IGTDS’s report on Twitter earlier than its official publication. He accused the politicians of supporting Russia’s “battle of annihilation” with their journey, urging the pinnacle of Germany’s federal workplace for the safety of the structure, Thomas Haldenwang, to “act now” and take steps towards the politicians. Melnyk accused the AfD’s Saxony-Anhalt department head, Martin Reichardt, of being “Putin’s fifth column in Germany”.

The AfD management gave the impression to be deeply crucial of the journey, however its expressions of concern had been restricted to the failure of the group to register it, or get approval from them, prematurely, somewhat than the actual fact they’d travelled to Russia. It referred to as upon the group to “comprehensively disclose” the organisation behind the journey and its execution.

It isn’t the primary such go to of its form. Blex travelled to Russian-annexed Crimea in 2018.

For the reason that invasion of Ukraine, AfD politicians have ceaselessly given interviews to Russian state media. In a single such interview, Eugen Schmidt, an MP within the Bundestag, referred to Germany as an “illegitimate state”.

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