Chancellor Olaf Scholz expects a signal of cohesion and determination from the NATO summit in Madrid in view of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. “A partnership with Russia, as stated in the Strategic Concept of 2010, is unimaginable for the foreseeable future with Putin’s aggressive, imperialist Russia,” said the SPD politician in his government statement.
At the same time, the Chancellor warned against drawing the wrong conclusions. “It would be unwise for us to denounce 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 so blatantly violates:
The renunciation of violence, respect for borders, the sovereignty of independent states. Putin should be reminded of this again and again.
In the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, NATO also undertook to refrain from permanently stationing “substantial combat troops” in the eastern alliance area. The planned long-term increase in NATO’s presence on the eastern flank could further increase tensions with Russia.
Scholz reiterated a tough stance on Russia, which attacked Ukraine on February 24. “It is all the more important that we steadfastly stay on course: with our sanctions, with the internationally coordinated arms deliveries, with our financial support for Ukraine,” he warned. “Until Putin finally recognizes his colossal miscalculation.”
He confirmed that the German Panzerhaubitz 2000 were now in Ukraine. Ukraine will get the weapons it needs to defend against Russia.
At the same time, however, poorer countries must be helped to cope with the rise in energy and food prices. Otherwise China and Russia would take advantage of this. The world’s 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 foodstuffs are being worked out. It cannot remain the case that millions of tons of grain are stuck in Ukrainian storage facilities “although they are urgently needed worldwide”.
Scholz has pledged continued German and European support to Ukraine in the fight against the Russian war of aggression – including with weapons. “Ukraine is getting the weapons that it particularly needs in the current phase of the war,” said the SPD politician. Germany is supplying the weapons – “today and in the future,” emphasized Scholz.
Ukraine has every right to defend itself against Russia, said Scholz. “And it is our duty as European neighbors, as defenders of justice and freedom, as friends and partners of Ukraine, to support them as best we can.” Europe stands united on the side of the Ukrainian people, the Federal Chancellor assured.
“We will continue to support Ukraine massively – financially, economically, humanitarianly, politically and not least with the delivery of weapons,” he said, adding: “For as long as Ukraine needs our support.”
This is how the training of Ukrainian soldiers on the Gepard anti-aircraft tanks is going, said the Chancellor. Training on the promised multiple rocket launchers will begin in the coming days. A few days ago, the contract for the Iris-T air defense system, which could protect an entire city from air raids, was signed between Ukraine and industry.
A first ring exchange of weapons with the Czech Republic is in place, talks with other exchange partners are being conducted at high pressure, emphasized Scholz.
In addition, Olaf Scholz has called for a “Marshall Plan” for the reconstruction of war-torn Ukraine. In his government statement, he said that during his visit to Ukraine last week, some things reminded him of the images of German cities after the Second World War. “And like war-torn Europe then, Ukraine needs a Marshall Plan for reconstruction today.”
Since the beginning of the war, the European Union has already mobilized billions in funds, and Germany is one of the frontrunners. “But we will need many more billions of euros and dollars for reconstruction – and that for years to come. This is only possible with combined forces.”
In order to organize the help, Scholz wants to convene an international conference of experts as part of Germany’s G7 presidency. An agreement must be reached on which investments will bring Ukraine forward the fastest on its European path, said the SPD politician.
Against the background of the dispute between Russia and Lithuania over the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has assured the eastern NATO partners of Germany’s full alliance solidarity. “We will defend every square meter of the alliance area,” said the SPD politician.
From their own history, the Germans know what they owe this promise, said Scholz. “And that’s why our NATO partners in Eastern Europe can rely on Germany today. We are going to the NATO summit next week with this promise.”
Because other allies would also commit to joint security responsibility with very specific contributions, he was firmly convinced: “The NATO summit will send a signal of cohesion and determination.”
Germany does not just leave it at words, emphasized Scholz. Immediately after the start of the war, additional soldiers and military capabilities such as air defense were transferred to the eastern alliance area. It has been agreed with Lithuania to permanently strengthen the German presence there and to assign a robust Bundeswehr brigade to the country.
Germany will also expand its presence with air and naval forces in the Baltic Sea region and is in the process of sending soldiers to Slovakia to secure the airspace.
At the upcoming EU summit, Scholz wants to campaign for granting Ukraine the status of a candidate country. “27 times yes to candidate status” is his goal, says Scholz. This also applies to Moldova. The EU must finally live up to its promises to the Western Balkan countries. However, this also requires reforms in the European Union in order to be receptive. Among other things, less unanimity and more qualified majority decisions are needed, for example in foreign policy.
Union faction leader Friedrich Merz has warned of the danger of genocide in view of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The federal government and Bundestag must fulfill the responsibility to protect Ukraine, said the CDU chairman on Wednesday in the debate on the government statement.
The Union faction welcomes “the fact that the delivery of the weapons is finally starting”, which was decided jointly in April and which Chancellor Olaf Scholz had announced for weeks, said Merz. “We expressly welcome that. We could have imagined it sooner.”
Merz also expressly welcomed the fact that Scholz visited Kyiv last week together with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi. “That was an important sign of European solidarity with this country and its people, who are still being abused.”
The fact that Russia is now apparently in the process of escalating tensions with Lithuania shows “that we are correct in our assessment that Putin must be stopped in Ukraine. If that doesn’t work, he keeps going.”
Merz welcomed it as a “strategically very clever decision” that the federal government invited India to the G7 summit in Elmau, Bavaria. However, he sharply criticized the fact that the traffic light coalition had again refused on Wednesday to finally adopt the free trade agreement with Canada.
AfD chairman Tino Chrupalla has condemned the German sanctions policy against Russia. The federal government wants to afford the “luxury” of forgoing cooperation with one of the world’s most resource-rich countries, he said on Wednesday in the Bundestag after Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government statement.
“We also condemn the Russian attack on Ukraine,” emphasized the AfD party and parliamentary group leader. But only dialogue and cooperation could restore peace.
“We need good relations with as many international partners as possible,” emphasized Chrupalla. However, Germany wants to counter Russia with a strong EU. With the promise of accession to the Ukraine, the local population is also given the illusion of security that can never be kept.
The heads of state and government of the European Union will meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. Against the background of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the focus is on the country’s and Moldova’s candidacy for EU accession. On Friday, the EU Commission recommended officially nominating Ukraine and Moldova as candidates for EU membership.
Scholz was in Kyiv last week with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Scholz and Macron had campaigned for Ukraine to receive candidate status.
After the European Council, there are two more summits for Scholz. Starting Sunday, the heads of state and government of the seven leading industrial nations will meet at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria for a three-day G7 summit. In addition to the Ukraine war, the fight against hunger and global warming are the dominant themes here. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also wants to take part.
At the NATO summit from June 28th to 30th in Madrid, the alliance partners want to discuss a new strategic concept. The planned admission of Finland and Sweden, which is currently being blocked by Turkey, should also be an issue.