The Chancellor spent more than an hour on the phone with the Russian President on Friday. Scholz cannot see a change in Moscow’s course. Neither does criticism of his appearance on the Defense Committee.
Two and a half months after the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has detected no change of heart in Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. The SPD politician said this in an interview published on Saturday by the news portal “t-online”.
It is clear that Russia has not achieved any of the war goals mentioned at the beginning. The Ukraine was not conquered, but defended itself with great skill, courage and the will to make sacrifices. «NATO has not withdrawn, but has even strengthened its forces on the eastern flank of the alliance. And the alliance will be even stronger when Finland and Sweden join NATO.” The Russian military itself has suffered significant losses, far more than in the ten years of the Soviet Union’s Afghanistan campaign.
Scholz said: “Slowly, Putin should realize that the only way out of this situation is to reach an agreement with Ukraine.” He made it clear that an agreement could not be a dictated peace by Russia. Scholz had been on the phone with Putin for more than an hour on Friday.
Weapons deliveries: “Yes, we will continue.”
At the same time, Scholz promised Ukraine further support, for example through arms deliveries. «Yes, we will continue. Even with sanctions. Because our goal is that the Russian invasion attempt fails. That is the benchmark for our actions.”
The Chancellor stressed: “For Putin’s insane idea of wanting to expand the Russian empire, Russia and the whole world are paying a very high price.” Many countries suffered from the fact that Ukraine was not one of the main suppliers of grain. “It’s about real hunger – not just whether there is enough sunflower oil on the supermarket shelves, as it is for us.”
Scholz stands behind Minister of Defense
In the interview, Scholz also introduced himself to Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (both SPD), who had come under criticism for her son flying with him in a government helicopter. When asked whether she was a burden for his government, Scholz said in the interview: “I am very sure: If you look back at the election period in three years, it will say: “She is the defense minister who made sure that the Bundeswehr is finally properly equipped.” When it was stated that this was a bold prognosis, the chancellor replied: “No”.
Lambrecht took her 21-year-old son with him in a government helicopter to a military visit in northern Germany in mid-April, without him taking part in the military visit himself. The next day and after an overnight stay in a hotel, the car and bodyguards drove to the nearby island of Sylt.
Lambrecht had expressed understanding for public criticism of the flight on Wednesday. At the same time, she announced consequences so that such allegations would no longer be possible in the future. She did not give details. The Ministry of Defense had pointed out that Lambrecht had applied for the flight in accordance with the rules and had fully assumed the costs.
The federal government wants to strengthen the Bundeswehr with a special program of 100 billion euros and thus close equipment gaps. This special fund is to be anchored in the Basic Law, which requires a two-thirds majority in the Bundestag and Bundesrat. However, what the money should be spent on is increasingly controversial.
Appearance in the Defense Committee: “No criticism perceived”
When asked about the meeting of the Bundestag Defense Committee on Friday, which was accompanied by Wirbel, in which Scholz was a guest, the SPD politician said: “I didn’t perceive any criticism there, on the contrary: the committee chairwoman asked me for my appearance and the information express thanks.”
The FDP politician Marcus Faber left the meeting before the official end and then criticized that Scholz had had a chance to declare himself on Ukraine. «Unfortunately, many answers were not given. I hope that we can catch up on this, »he wrote on Twitter and caught harsh criticism from his own ranks. The committee chair Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP) had invited Scholz. In the course of the Ukraine war, Scholz was sometimes accused of hesitation, including from within the ranks of his own traffic light coalition.