Chancellor Olaf Scholz expects a signal of cohesion and determination from the NATO summit in Madrid in view of Russia’s war on aggression against Ukraine. “The partnership with Russia, as set out in the 2010 Strategic Concept, is unthinkable for the foreseeable future with Putin’s aggressive, imperialist Russia,” the SPD politician said in a government statement.
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At the same time, the Chancellor warned against drawing erroneous conclusions. “It would be unwise for us to condemn the NATO-Russia Founding Act,” he said. That would only play into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his propaganda. The founding act reaffirms the very principles that Putin is so blatantly violating:
Renunciation of violence, respect for borders, sovereignty of independent states. Putin should be reminded again and again.
In the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, NATO also undertook to refrain from the permanent deployment of “major combat troops” in the Eastern Alliance. The planned long-term increase in NATO’s presence on the Eastern Wing could further increase tensions with Russia.
Tough attitude towards Russia
Scholz reiterated his tough stance on Russia, which attacked Ukraine on February 24. “It is all the more important that we keep the course: with our sanctions, with internationally coordinated arms supplies, with our financial support for Ukraine,” he warned. “Until Putin finally acknowledges his colossal miscalculation.”
He confirmed that the German Panzerhaubitz 2000 are now in Ukraine. Ukraine will receive the weapons it needs to defend itself against Russia.
At the same time, however, poorer countries need to be helped to cope with rising energy and food prices. Otherwise, China and Russia would take advantage. World democracies must stand together not only against Russian imperialism, but also in the fight against hunger and poverty.
The Chancellor stressed that solutions for the export of Ukrainian food are being prepared. It cannot remain that millions of tonnes of grain are stuck in Ukrainian warehouses, “although there is an urgent need worldwide”.
Ukraine will be supported as long as necessary
Scholz promised continued German and European support for Ukraine in the fight against the Russian war of aggression – including weapons. “Ukraine is acquiring the weapons it needs at the current stage of the war,” the SPD politician said. Germany supplies weapons – “today and in the future”, Scholz emphasized.
Ukraine has every right to defend itself against Russia, Scholz said. “And it is our duty as Europe’s neighbors, defenders of justice and freedom, friends and partners of Ukraine to support them as best we can.” Europe is united on the side of the Ukrainian people, the Federal Chancellor said.
“We will continue to massively support Ukraine – financially, economically, humanitarianly, politically and, last but not least, by arms supplies,” he said, adding: “As long as Ukraine needs our support.”
This is how Ukrainian soldiers are trained in anti-aircraft tanks Cheetah, the chancellor said. Training on the promised multiple rocket launchers will begin in the coming days. A few days ago, a contract was signed between Ukraine and industry for the Iris-T air defense system, which could protect the entire city from air raids.
The first round arms exchange with the Czech Republic is underway, and negotiations with other exchange partners are taking place under high pressure, Scholz emphasized.
The “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine
In addition, Olaf Scholz called for a “Marshall Plan” to rebuild war-torn Ukraine. He said in a government statement that during his visit to Ukraine last week, some things reminded him of pictures of German cities after World War II. “And just like war-torn Europe at the time, Ukraine needs a Marshall Plan for reconstruction today.”
Since the beginning of the war, the European Union has mobilized billions of funds and Germany is one of the pioneers. “But we will need a lot more billions of euros and dollars to renovate – in the coming years. That is only possible by joint efforts. “
In order to organize the assistance, Scholz wants to convene an international conference of experts under the German G7 Presidency. An agreement must be reached on which investments will lead Ukraine on its European path the fastest, the SPD politician said.
NATO’s partners in the East can rely on Germany
Against the background of the dispute between Russia and Lithuania over the Baltic Sea Exclave of Kaliningrad, Chancellor Olaf Scholz assured the Eastern Partners in NATO of the full solidarity of Germany. “We will defend every square meter of the alliance,” the SPD politician said.
The Germans know from their own history what they owe for this promise, Scholz said. “That’s why our NATO partners in Eastern Europe today can rely on Germany. With this promise, we are going to the NATO summit next week. ”
As other Allies would make a very specific contribution to a common security responsibility, he firmly believed: “The NATO Summit will send a signal of cohesion and determination.”
Germany does not leave it alone, Scholz emphasized. Immediately after the start of the war, additional troops and military capabilities, such as air defense, were transferred to the Eastern Alliance. It was agreed with Lithuania to permanently strengthen the German presence there and to assign a strong Bundeswehr brigade to the country.
Germany will also expand its presence with air and naval forces in the Baltic Sea region and is sending troops to Slovakia to secure airspace.
“27 times yes for candidate status”
At the upcoming EU summit, Scholz wants to campaign for Ukraine as a candidate country. “27 yes for candidate status” is his goal, says Scholz. This also applies to Moldova. The EU must finally deliver on its promises to the countries of the Western Balkans. However, this also requires reforms in the European Union to be receptive. Among other things, less unanimity and more qualified majority decisions are needed, for example in foreign policy.
Friedrich Merz warns of the dangers of genocide
Union leader Friedrich Merz warned of the dangers of genocide in light of Russia’s offensive war against Ukraine. The federal government and the Bundestag must fulfill responsibility for protecting Ukraine, CDU chairman said in a debate on a government statement on Wednesday.
The Union faction welcomes “the fact that arms supplies are finally starting”, which was decided jointly in April and announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz for weeks, Merz said. “It simply came to our notice then. We could have imagined it sooner. “
Merz also explicitly welcomed Scholz’s visit to Kyiv last week with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. “This was an important sign of European solidarity with this country and its people, who are still being abused.”
The fact that Russia is now clearly in the process of escalating tensions with Lithuania shows “that we are right in our assessment that Putin must be stopped in Ukraine. If that doesn’t help, he’ll keep going. “
Merz welcomed the “strategically very smart decision” that the federal government had invited India to the G7 summit in Elmau, Bavaria. However, he sharply criticized that the traffic light coalition again on Wednesday refused to definitively accept a free trade agreement with Canada.
The leader of the left-wing faction, Dietmar Bartsch, soon rejected Ukraine’s accession to the EU. “Once you are in the EU, you can no longer be excluded and we all know that the EU already has very problematic members.”
For Ukraine: “To support yes, to hope yes – but not to raise false hopes.”
Green Party leader Katharina Dröge, on the other hand, emphasized that a “clear perspective on European membership” was particularly important for Ukraine. “That is why it is so crucial that the European Council now sends a signal that Ukraine and Moldova will also be granted candidate status.”
AfD chief Chrupalla calls for dialogue with Russia
AfD chairman Tino Chrupallla condemned the policy of German sanctions against Russia. The federal government wants to afford the “luxury” of giving up cooperation with one of the richest countries in the world, he said in the Bundestag on Wednesday after a government statement by Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“We also condemn the Russian attack on Ukraine,” stressed the head of the party and the AfD parliamentary group. But only dialogue and cooperation can restore peace.
“We need good relations with as many international partners as possible,” Chrupalla said. However, Germany wants to face Russia with a strong EU.
Three summits are approaching: EU, G7 and NATO
The Heads of State and Government of the European Union will meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. Against the background of the Russian offensive war against Ukraine, attention is focused on the candidacy of the country and Moldova to join the EU. The European Commission on Friday recommended officially nominating Ukraine and Moldova as candidates for EU membership.
Scholz was in Kiev last week with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Scholz and Macron campaigned for Ukraine to obtain candidate status.
After the European Council, there are two more summits for Scholz. As of Sunday, the heads of state and government of seven leading industrialized nations will meet at Elmau Castle in Bavaria for a three-day G7 summit. In addition to the Ukrainian war, the dominant themes are the fight against hunger and global warming. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also wants to take part.
At the NATO summit in Madrid on June 28-30, the Alliance’s partners want to discuss a new strategic concept. The planned accession of Finland and Sweden, which is currently blocking Turkey, should also be an issue.
At the beginning of Wednesday’s session of the Federal Assembly (13:00), Federal Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht (SPD) answered questions from deputies. Almost four months after the start of the war, the first heavy weapons from Germany arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday in the form of the Panzerhaubitz 2000 artillery.dpa, Reuters)