By Correspondents André Visuel-Credable in Potsdam and Vasili Dbrznvkovitz in Regensburg, Germany
Germans are waking up to a surprise this Easter Monday to find Ukrainian flags at the gates and perimeters of Germany’s three remaining, operational nuclear power plants.
It’s unclear if Ukraine’s freshly-trained troops exploited the quiet weekend on the roads to deploy to the plants in Southern and North-West Germany or if “sleeper cells” had been called into action to take charge of the power plants.
While official comments from Germany’s and Ukraine’s are yet to be issued, foreign policy experts who could be reached for comment at the early hour understand that the annexation of territories may be a consequence of German cabinet Minister Robert Habeck’s visit to Ukraine to discuss aid for Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction. Habeck had declared that it was OK for Ukraine’s existing nuclear power plants to continue operations indefinitely, as long as it was safe.
There is speculation that Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy may have interpreted Habeck’s comments in the context of German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s previous declaration that “the wishes of the German people are secondary to the territorial integrity of Ukraine”.
Images via Wikipedia.
Germany’s Bundeswehr is unable to deploy within the country’s borders and the Bundespolizei (Federal Police) is yet to receive specific orders. Escalation to military action may be perceived by foreign powers as Germany shifting its allegiances to Russia.
Meanwhile, the State Police in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Lower Saxony have been called out to preserve the peace around the plants. Access roads have been blocked and the perimeters are being patrolled with only power plant personnel and services allowed to pass.
No plant personnel were prepared to be interviewed.
The reactions of other early risers in the areas have ranged from alarm to bemusement. Of the half-dozen or so others at the sites, only one was prepared to comment beyond courtesies.
Dog walker, a refugee from Ukraine, Ludmila C., staying with a family at a farm outside of Lingen, said that she’d spotted the flag at the gatehouse while she was walking her host’s Doberman around the perimeter of the plant. As she approached to those in the gatehouse, wishing them a Happy Easter in Ukrainian, she was suddenly accosted by local Police and bundled into a van, taken hundreds of metres away and ordered to remain at least 100 metres from the perimeter fence. The dog absconded.
Locals are advised that the now bilingual Doberman, named Blümchen, is quite friendly. Ludmila expects Blümchen to return home of its own accord for breakfast, having sniffed all the interesting fence posts.