German chancellor explains caution on arming Ukraine — Analysis

Olaf Scholz says he won’t let polls and surveys determine “questions of war and peace”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said that Berlin won’t take the lead in sending heavy weapons and vehicles to Ukraine. Pressed to do so by officials in Kiev and from within his own government, Scholz insisted that he won’t take any “hasty action”This could increase the conflict.

“I make my decisions quickly and coordinate them with our allies,” Scholz told German tabloid Bild am Sonntag in an interview published on Sunday. “I am suspicious of hasty action and German solo efforts.”

The newspaper noted that Scholz’s phrasing indicates that as long as the United States and Germany’s other major allies are not sending Western-made battle tanks to Ukraine, Germany will not stand out and send such armaments to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s regime.

Scholz however, a Social Democrat who has been in office since December and is being heavily criticised for failing to take a similar stand, Zelensky asked Berlin for armored vehicles, and the German government was accused of ignoring his request. “earning [its] money in other people’s blood”continue to purchase Russian oil and gaz. Meanwhile at home, Scholz’s approval ratings have sunk, and members of his own government have publicly stated that Ukraine should be armed by the West, with no “excuses.”

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“You should take note of surveys, but you must not make your actions dependent on them, especially in questions of war and peace that would be extremely dangerous,” Scholz told Bild am Sonntag. 

The chancellor has previously insisted that he doesn’t think it is “justified for Germany and NATO to become warring parties in Ukraine,”And that Germany “must do everything possible to avoid a direct military confrontation between NATO and a highly armed superpower like Russia.” 

Scholz is adamant that he has reacted to decades of conflict avoidance by sending thousands anti-tank, surface-to-air and other weapons to Ukraine. Also, he increased his military spending. In a further step toward participation in the conflict, the German government gave the green light last week to the delivery of dozens of Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns to Kiev. In addition, Germany’s Rheinmetall arms manufacturer is currently awaiting Scholz’ approval to sell 88 decommissioned Leopard infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine.

While Scholz’s inaction has been criticised, his actions have also been called into question. A group of prominent German politiciansAnd public figures sent the government an open letter earlier this month urging Berlin to cease all weapons shipments to avoid prolonging a bloody conflict that Ukraine “has little chance of winning.” 

Another letter published in a feminist magazine on Friday and signed by dozens of German cultural figures called on Scholz to “remember [his] initial position” and “not supply any more heavy weapons to Ukraine, either directly or indirectly.”They wrote instead, Berlin should “do everything”They can also broker a ceasefire.

Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French- and German-brokered protocol were created to provide special status for the Ukrainian breakaway areas within the Ukrainian state.

Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and vow to never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.

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