Updated on 05/14/2022 at 09:40
- After his phone call with Vladimir Putin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he had yet to notice any reversal from the Russian leader.
- Nevertheless, Scholz made it clear that there would be no Russian-dictated peace.
- The Chancellor also got to the heart of the matter after the Defense Committee on Friday.
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 the head of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin. The SPD politician said so in an interview published on Saturday by the “t-online” news portal. It is clear that Russia has not achieved any of the war aims mentioned at the beginning. Ukraine was not conquered, but fought back with great skill, courage and a willingness to sacrifice. “NATO has not withdrawn, but has even strengthened its forces on the eastern flank of the alliance. And the alliance will become even stronger when Finland and Sweden join NATO.” The Russian army itself suffered significant losses, far more than during the Soviet Union’s ten-year campaign in Afghanistan.
Scholz: No peace dictated by Russia
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 a deal could not be a Russian-dictated peace. Scholz had been on the phone with Putin for over an hour on Friday.
At the same time, Scholz promised Ukraine additional support, for example through arms deliveries. “Yes, we will continue. Even with sanctions. Because our goal is for the Russian invasion attempt to fail. This is the benchmark for our actions.”
The Chancellor stressed: “Russia and the whole world are paying a very high price for Putin’s crazy idea of wanting to expand the Russian empire.” Many countries suffered from the fact that Ukraine was not one of the main grain suppliers. “It’s about real hunger – not just whether there’s enough sunflower oil on the supermarket shelves, as there is for us.”
Scholz presents himself to Lambrecht
In the interview, Scholz also introduced himself to Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (both from the SPD), who had been criticized for her son flying with him in a government helicopter. When asked if she was a burden on her government, Scholz said in the interview, “I’m sure: If you look back at the election period three years from now, you’ll say, ‘This is the Minister of Defense who has ensured that the Bundeswehr is finally properly equipped.” When the Chancellor said that this was a bold prognosis, he replied: “No”.
Lambrecht took his 21-year-old son with him in a government helicopter for a military visit to northern Germany in mid-April, without him taking part in the military visit himself. The next day and after a night in a hotel, the car and the bodyguards went to the neighboring island of Sylt.
Lambrecht had expressed understanding for public criticism of the theft on Wednesday. At the same time, she announced consequences so that such allegations are no longer possible in the future. She did not give details. The Ministry of Defense had pointed out that Lambrecht had requested the flight in accordance with the rules and had fully borne the costs.
After it became known that Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht flew with her son in a Bundeswehr helicopter, other political voices are now speaking out.
The Bundeswehr must be strengthened
The Federal Government wants to strengthen the Bundeswehr with a special program of 100 billion euros and thus close the equipment gaps. This special fund must be anchored in the basic law, which requires a two-thirds majority in the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. However, what the money should be spent on is increasingly controversial.
Asked about the meeting of the Bundestag Defense Committee on Friday, together with Wirbel, to which Scholz was invited, the SPD politician said: “I did not perceive any criticism there, on the contrary: the chairwoman of the committee asked me for my appearance and the information expressly thanked.”
FDP politician Marcus Faber left the meeting before the official end and later criticized Scholz for having had the chance to speak on Ukraine. “Unfortunately, many answers have not been given. Hopefully we can catch up,” he wrote on Twitter and was heavily criticized within his own ranks. Committee President Marie-Agnès Strack-Zimmermann (FDP) had invited Scholz. During the Ukrainian War, Scholz was sometimes accused of wavering, including within his own traffic light coalition. (dpa/ska)