The participants in the traditional Easter marches nationwide want to set an example for peace and against war this year. The main day of action is Holy Saturday, for which around 70 events have been announced in Germany.

On the occasion of the Easter holidays, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) once again reaffirmed German support for Ukraine and justified this with German security interests. Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (both Greens) and CDU leader Friedrich Merz also published messages for Easter.

Scholz: Peace without freedom means oppression

Scholz said in a video message: “We all long for a more peaceful world.” But peace without freedom means oppression, there is no peace without justice. “That’s why we support Ukraine in its fight for a just peace – for as long as it is necessary. We also do this for ourselves, for our security.” Scholz accused Russia under President Vladimir Putin of breaking a central principle that has been in effect for decades: that borders should not be moved by force. “But we have it in our hands to make this principle valid again. By continuing to support Ukraine – decisively and prudently.”

Habeck: Germany must protect itself from attacks

Yesterday evening, Habeck published a video for Easter on the X platform (formerly Twitter). In it he said: “We long for peace. Yes. But the honest, the bitter answer is: There probably won’t be a quick, good end, even if we wish otherwise.” In view of Russian aggression, he emphasized: “We have to prepare for the threat situation. Anything else would be naive.” That’s why Germany is well advised to invest more in its own security. “We, Germany, the European Union, we have to protect ourselves in every way, including against military attacks.”

Video: BMWK on X

In Germany there have been arguments in recent weeks about the type and extent of support for Ukraine, “sometimes bitter and sometimes hurtful,” said Habeck. “I spoke out early on in favor of supplying arms to Ukraine, and I am now also advocating that we continue to support them with more and additional military material.” However, he has respect for a position that, for fundamental moral reasons or religious convictions, comes to a different conclusion than he does on the subject of arms deliveries to Ukraine. “I also understand only too well that people are afraid of an escalation of the war. I am also worried.”

Against a “freezing of war”

The question is what is necessary to counter this threat, said Habeck. The government must continually deal with this. Habeck opposed “freezing the war.” “As much as I understand that there is talk of freezing the war given the high number of victims, this position ignores the fact that only Ukrainians can decide what price they are willing to pay and under what conditions they will reach a ceasefire or want to end the war,” said the Vice Chancellor. SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich (SPD) recently discussed “freezing” the conflict – i.e. a ceasefire to enable a negotiated solution. He received a lot of criticism for this.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Baerbock warns against one-sided partisanship with regard to the Gaza war in view of the traditional Easter marches. “People in Israel must not be played off against people in Palestine,” she told the Funke media group. Humanity is indivisible. “Everything else is extremely dangerous.” The Green politician continued: “And we must not pit our desire for peace against peace in Ukraine. The same applies here: This is not a ‘but’, but an ‘and’.”

Merz: Peacefulness alone is not enough

CDU chairman Merz wrote in an email to his supporters that the longing for peace among many people in the country is likely to be particularly pronounced this year. Demonstrating for peace is anything but reprehensible. But we still have to talk about the conditions for lasting peace. “And peacefulness alone is not a sufficient answer.” According to Merz, it would be very desirable if the Easter marchers this year addressed themselves primarily to Putin and called on him to immediately end the war of aggression against Ukraine.