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German defense minister lambasted over NYE Ukraine message

January 2, 2023

German media has mocked a "tone-deaf" video put out by Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht. She was slammed for discussing the war in Ukraine as people set off fireworks.

German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht
Lambrecht is a member of the Social Democrats (SPD), one of the parties in the ruling coalitionImage: Valeria Mongelli/Zuma/IMAGO

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht came under fire on Monday for what has been considered a tone-deaf video published on her social media account.

Lambrecht shared the video on Instagram, in which she appears on a street in Berlin during chaotic New Year's celebrations.

Her reflections of the "war raging in the middle of Europe" — in reference to the already 10-month-long war in Ukraine — have been called insensitive with the backdrop of loud fireworks blasting behind her.

German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel said the address failed to "hit the right tone," instead painting the war as an "exciting professional experience."

Calls for resignation

A lawmaker from the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) called for Lambrecht's resignation after the video went viral on German-speaking social media, with many people mocking the minister.

"The speech about the war with New Year's Eve firecrackers in the background only crowns her series of embarrassments," CDU lawmaker Serap Güler wrote in a tweet addressed to Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

"Who is supposed to take us seriously anymore?" she added.

"I don't see any reason to evaluate this now," deputy government spokesperson Christiane Hoffmann said in response.

The chairperson for the Bundestag defense committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, distanced herself from the video — which had been made privately and not with ministry resources — saying, "the New Year's video in question is a matter for the minister and her communications staff. I myself find the setting somewhat unfortunate."

"I don't want to say more about it," she added.

ab/jcg (AFP, dpa)

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