After the decision to supply main battle tanks to Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for prudence in the debate on further arms deliveries. (archive image)
He warns against “entering into a constant outbidding competition when it comes to weapon systems,” Scholz told the “Tagesspiegel” (Sunday edition) with a view to demands that Ukraine now also be supplied with fighter jets. “If, as soon as a decision has been made, the next debate begins in Germany, it doesn’t seem serious and shakes the confidence of the citizens in government decisions.”
Following the commitment by Germany and other Western countries to deliver battle tanks to Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy requested combat aircraft on Wednesday, among other things. The federal government rejects this.
As Chancellor, he must “do everything to ensure that Russia’s war against Ukraine does not become a war between Russia and NATO,” Scholz told the Tagesspiegel. There is no such thing, and he will not “allow such an escalation. We in the Federal Government are completely in agreement on this, and the Foreign Minister also sees it that way”.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on Tuesday in the Council of Europe for the cohesion of the western allies in view of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. She said in English: “We are waging a war against Russia and not against each other.” The Foreign Office later qualified Baerbock’s statement to the “Bild” newspaper and made it clear that supporting Ukraine in exercising its right to self-defense does not make Germany “a party to the conflict”.
Scholz announced in the “Tagesspiegel” interview that he would continue to try to influence Russian President Vladimir Putin in direct talks. “I will also be on the phone with Putin again – because it is necessary to talk to each other,” he said. “It’s up to Putin to withdraw troops from Ukraine and end this horrific, senseless war that has already killed hundreds of thousands.”
In the phone calls, Putin repeatedly made it clear that he wanted to “take parts of his neighboring country by force,” which Scholz said was “unacceptable.” “Sometimes there were also specific questions about the exchange of prisoners, grain exports from Ukraine and the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.” But the crucial question is: “How will the world get out of this terrible situation?” The prerequisite for this is “the withdrawal of Russian troops” from Ukraine.