Fact Check-Germany did not 'officially declare war' on Russia in January 2023

Germany has not actually declared war on Russia, despite posts online characterizing recent German actions and a statement by its foreign minister as a declaration of war. The claim appears to stem from Germany’s recent decision to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine as well as the German foreign minister’s recent remarks at the Council of Europe that have been taken out of context, and which the Russian news agency TASS called “evidence of a premeditated war against Russia.”

A Twitter user claims, “Germany has officially declared war on Russia” (here).

While many users are making the claim figuratively, others appear to question whether Germany really declared war on Russia (here) and (here).

The Russian state TASS news agency on Jan. 25 said there was “evidence of premeditated war against Russia” due to comments made by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock a day earlier ( However, they appear to have been taken out of context.

On Jan. 24, Baerbock spoke in Strasbourg, France, at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, an international human rights organization (here), (here).

Baerbock during a Q&A says that European countries are blaming one another for their actions or inactions during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “This ends nowhere. This ends only in dividing Europe," she said in English (see timestamp 50:00 (LINK WITH EXACT MINUTE SPOT ON VIDEO here).

“Yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks,” Baerbock continued. “But the most important, and the crucial part, is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”

A video of the address can be seen (here).

A German foreign ministry spokesperson said that Russia twisted Baerbock’s comments for propaganda purposes, according to Reuters reporting on Jan. 27 (here).

As Germany faced mounting pressure to send tanks to Ukraine and allow NATO allies to do the same, Berlin announced on Jan. 25 that it would supply Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. According to Reuters reports, Germany had been wary of moves that could prompt Russia to escalate the war or draw NATO into becoming a party to the conflict (here), (here).

Following claims about Germany declaring war on Russia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in an interview with German broadcaster ZDF on Jan. 25 said the delivery of battle tanks does not make Germany a party to the war (here).

Germany resisted sending its main Leopard battle tank to Ukraine without a comparable move from Washington, prompting U.S. President Joe Biden to announce on Jan. 25 the U.S. will supply Ukraine with 31 advanced M1 Abrams tanks, per Reuters reports (here), (here).

Reuters has reported that the U.S. and Western allies have so far provided funding and equipment to Ukraine (here).


Missing context. Germany has not declared war on Russia.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .