Scholz defends his Ukraine policy and blames the kyiv government for the problem of his visit – The Berlin Spectator
On ZDF television, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has just dismissed criticism voiced by his vocal critics regarding Germany’s Ukrainian policy. Decisions about sending weapons there must be carefully considered, he said. At the same time, he blamed the Ukrainian government for its refusal to visit kyiv.
Berlin, May 3, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Germany was Ukraine’s biggest supporter before Russia attacked the country on February 24, and still is today. Furthermore, the Federal Republic supports Ukraine by supplying it with the weapons it needs to defend itself. In order to be able to send them, Berlin changed its decades-old policy of not exporting weapons to war zones. At the same time, Germany takes in and supports some 400,000 Ukrainian war refugees.
Support and criticism
Leading German politicians, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a former foreign minister, have admitted that their former Russian policy was wrong, from today’s perspective. Still, Steinmeier was disinvited by the Ukrainian government. Scholz told ZDF TV that was the reason he was not going. The disinvitation was a “remarkable event”, he said. “You can’t do something like that. You can’t say the president won’t come.
Last month, Steinmeier had wanted to travel to kyiv with his colleagues from Poland and the Baltic countries. Due to his role in the past, also in the North Stream 2 pipeline, Ukraine had made it clear that they did not want him there. Not only Scholz, but also Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is not going to Ukraine due to President Steinmeier’s disinvitation. But Germany’s broad support for Ukraine continues.
thin red line
This week, German opposition leader Friedrich Merz, the chairman of the conservative CDU and its leader in the Bundestag, intends to visit kyiv. Merz said he would not let the government dictate whether or not he leaves. Olaf Scholz, on the other hand, said in the ZDF interview that he approved of Merz’s trip. Then he would communicate with Merz about his talks there. In the next two weeks, the CDU intends to win two regional elections in Germany. They could be the reason for Merz’s stubborn tone of voice, despite the fact that there is consensus behind the scenes.
Olaf Scholz dismissed criticism from Merz that he was hesitant and fearful of his Ukraine policy. He always took important decisions quickly, said the Chancellor. His strategy was to act cautiously, instead of doing things just because someone had told him out loud. All decisions had to be carefully considered. Preserving peace in Germany and protecting the Federal Republic were also very important, Scholz said. His government wants to avoid becoming a belligerent party while supporting Ukraine with weapons such as “Gepard” anti-aircraft tanks. It’s like a thin red line.
Scholz slams Schröder
According to Scholz, Germany’s course is in line with that of the United States of America and EU countries. In the ZDF interview, he said several aspects were important when it came to arms exports to Ukraine, including whether Ukrainian soldiers were trained on the systems sent there.
Scholz also criticized one of his predecessors, former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a high-ranking representative of several Russian companies, including Gazprom. Scholz said it was unjustifiable. Schröder was to vacate these positions, but added that a Chancellor could not give orders to his predecessor.
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