Romania’s Iohannis says ‘Russian war crimes must be punished’ during meeting with German president


Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said Wednesday that „all war crimes committed by  Russian troops must be investigated … and punished” by an international court.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Bucharest with German President Frank Steinmeier, the leaders said their talks had  focused  on the  “serious security situation” caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its knock-on effects.


Mr Steinmeier has been snubbed by Ukraine for his soft stance over Russia in the past and has not been allowed to visit the capital, Kyiv or speak by telephone to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

On Wednesday, the German president  vowed  that Germany would “ stand by Ukraine and  provide support in this most  difficult  period.”

The war in neighboring Ukraine has raised Romania’s importance as a regional power as a NATO and EU member. Romania has seen hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine cross its borders, most  of which have traveled on to third countries.

“We are impressed by  the help and support that Romania has given  to refugees from Ukraine. Romania has  full respect in what it is  doing  and Germany will continue to provide support to  refugees in Ukraine,” Mr Steinmeier said.

„Germany has almost 300,000 registered refugees  and about 100,000 which arre still unregistered,” he added.


The leaders discussed energy security and weaning off  the continent’s dependence on Russian gas as the European Union announced its latest package of sanctions taken against Russia to punish it for the invasion.

“Pressure  must intensify in order for Russia to stop the invasion,” the Romanian leader said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday called for bloc to ban oil imports from Russia  within six months and refined products by the end of the year  in a sixth round of sanctions.

President  Steinmeier, said Germany had reduced its dependence on Russian oil and was only getting 15% of its supplies from Russia.

Humanitarian hub

The influx of refugees led to Romania setting up a humanitarian hub in the northern city of Suceava which is coordinating relief efforts. Many non-governmental organizations, businesses and ordinary individuals have offered help and support.

„It is crucial that the support of the  European Union and its member states  continues both for Ukraine  and for the Ukrainian refugees,” Mr Iohannis said.

The leaders also discussed tensions in neighboring Moldova which fears an attack by Russia via Ukraine.


Romania’s president thanked the German leader for helping secure reinforced air police  and supporting its bid to join the passport-free Schengen area.

“ I want to stress how important European  unity is in the framework of the transatlantic relationship and in the   context of  this war that has led to millions of refugees and much  suffering,” he said.


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