Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has once again defended the delivery of arms and military equipment to Ukraine and at the same time warned of a “division of the world”. The war in Ukraine is a turning point, “because a single country, Russia, is breaking international law in the most brutal way with the power of its military apparatus and without any reason,” said Scholz on Thursday at Re:publica, the trade fair for the digital society , in Berlin. He is the first German head of government to be a guest at the conference.
Almost 80 years after the end of the Second World War, Russia is moving the borders in Europe “in order to subdue another country and incorporate at least parts of it,” said Scholz. “That’s sheer imperialism.” This will never be accepted.
Therefore, the sanctions were imposed on Russia, millions of Ukrainian refugees were admitted to the EU and support for Ukraine continued “economically, financially, humanitarian and also militarily”. And that’s why the decision was made “that Germany should send weapons and military equipment to a war zone on a large scale for the first time,” said Scholz. This is done in close coordination with partners in the EU, NATO and the G7 countries.
In countries in Asia, Africa and South America, as a result of the Russian war of aggression, there are growing concerns about starvation, scarcity of raw materials, lack of energy, interrupted supply chains and “being left behind and forgotten by the rest of the world,” said the Chancellor. He further emphasized: “There is a threat of a new division of the world.”
Scholz also called for international cooperation and solidarity: “It is worth working together on a world order that does justice to the multipolar reality of the 21st century.” He is convinced that the so-called de-globalization, which some are currently propagating, is a dangerous mistake be.
“No one can disconnect from the world,” said Scholz. This applies to the analogue world, where climate change, health crises, poverty reduction, trade and knowledge transfer make international cooperation imperative. But that also applies to the digital space.
“Digital technologies are increasingly being misused as a geopolitical instrument of power, sometimes specifically for disinformation campaigns,” said Scholz at the fair. “We’ll be better prepared for that – that’s also a concrete consequence of the turning point.” The Federal Chancellor has announced a more consistent defense against digital attempts at influence from abroad.
Scholz said of the risk of targeted disinformation campaigns from Russia: “You can’t take it seriously enough.” The responsible authorities in Germany have such activities in mind.
At the same time, the chancellor admitted that “there is still a lot to be done in order to become even better”. It is important “to preserve and strengthen the Internet as the progressive, democratizing space for global networking and knowledge exchange,” said the Chancellor. “That means ‘a turning point’ in digital politics.” The Chancellor expressly criticized China and Russia for trying to regulate the Internet. “Knowledge is power. And quite a few feel threatened by this power of knowledge,” he said. “That’s why we’re seeing state actors set limits on the free Internet.”
Scholz also fears that the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine will be protracted. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet understood that his plans will not work, said Scholz in an interview with the radio station Antenne Bayern.
“Having failed to capture all of Ukraine and having withdrawn his troops around Kyiv, he is now bombing the regions of eastern Ukraine, especially Donbass, and apparently has the idea that if he puts everything down there bombed, which can then become part of the Russian empire,” said Scholz. “But that won’t work.”