More than 600,000 Germans signed a petition two weeks ago, calling for an end to heavy weapons delivery to Ukraine, and urging Chancellor Olaf Scholz to lead diplomatic efforts for a cease-fire and peace negotiations. The petition, co-authored by Left Party lawmaker Sahra Wagenknecht and feminist author Alice Schwarzer, gathered 607,000 signatures as of Thursday on change.org website.
Prominent figures, including former vice president of the European Commission Gunter Verheugen, former brigadier general Erich Vad, journalists Franz Alt and Gisela Marx, politicians Oskar Lafontaine and Jurgen Todenhofer, and political scientists Hajo Funke and Ulrike Guerot were among the first signatories of the petition.
The authors of the petition stated that "supported by the West, Ukraine can win individual battles. But it cannot win a war against the world's largest nuclear power," and emphasized that "neither side can win militarily," and that the war can only end at the negotiating table. They stressed that "negotiating does not mean surrendering," and that both sides need to make compromises to prevent hundreds of thousands more deaths and worse.
The petition called on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to stop the escalation of arms deliveries to Ukraine and initiate a diplomatic effort to reach a cease-fire and begin peace negotiations as soon as possible. The authors of the petition noted that "every lost day costs up to 1,000 more human lives – and brings us closer to a third world war."
The petition comes in the wake of a demonstration in Berlin on the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, where way over 10,000 people, protested against the delivery of weapons to Ukraine. The demonstration which was called by left wing politicians Alice Schwarzer and Sahra Wagenknecht published a statement on the website of the protest explaining the cause:
Today (February 10, 2023) marks the 352nd day of the war in Ukraine, where over 200,000 soldiers and 50,000 civilians have been killed, women have been raped, and children have been traumatized. If the fighting continues, Ukraine may become a depopulated, destroyed country, and many people across Europe fear an escalation of the conflict, fearing for their future and that of their children. The Ukrainian people, who have been brutally attacked by Russia, need solidarity. However, what would be considered a solidary action? How long will the fighting and dying continue on the battlefield in Ukraine, and what is the goal of this war a year later? The German Foreign Minister recently spoke of "us" waging a "war against Russia." President Selenskyj is not secretive about his goal, and after being promised tanks, he now demands fighter jets, long-range missiles, and warships to defeat Russia completely? Although the German Chancellor assures that he does not want to send fighter jets or ground troops, how many "red lines" have been crossed in recent months? It is feared that Putin will strike back with maximum force at the latest when the Crimea is attacked. Are we then irrevocably sliding towards a world and nuclear war? Negotiation is necessary as the Ukraine can win individual battles, but cannot win a war against the world's largest nuclear power, as the highest military officer of the United States, General Milley, has said. He calls it a stalemate where neither side can militarily win, and the war can only be ended at the negotiating table. Negotiation does not mean surrender; it means compromising on both sides to prevent further deaths and worse. The German government and the Chancellor must act and take the lead in a strong alliance for a ceasefire and peace negotiations on the German and European levels. Citizens must take responsibility and demand the Chancellor to stop the escalation of arms deliveries immediately.
The demonstration was peaceful, and the police mobilized 1,400 officials to maintain order and enforce bans on military uniforms, Russian and Soviet flags, Russian military songs, and right-wing symbols.