Scholz imposes sanctions covering the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline
The German leader said he found it unacceptable that despite his country’s military and financial contributions to Ukraine, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was disinvited by the Ukrainian government in April.
He said: “It cannot work that with a country that provides so much military aid, that provides so much financial aid, that is needed when it comes to the security guarantees that are important for Ukraine’s future, that they then say: but the president is not allowed to come.”
According to its own figures, the German government has delivered weapons and other armaments worth at least 191.9 million euros to Ukraine in the first eight weeks of the war.
Mr Scholz stressed that the aid provided by Germany and other states had contributed to “the fact that the Ukrainian army, which is really operating very successfully, can now hold out for so long against such an overpowering opponent”.
But his comments sparked the fury of Ukrainian Ambassador Andrij Melnyk who criticised Scholz’s provisional no to a trip to Kyiv, telling Deutsche Presse-Agentur: “Being in a huff doesn’t seem very statesmanlike.”
Olaf Scholz is refusing to visit Ukraine
Olaf Scholz is behaving as if he was ‘being in a huff’, says Ukrainian ambassador Melnyk
President Steinmeier had come under criticism for his former Russia policy as foreign and chancellery minister in Ukraine.
A trip to Kyiv by the presidents from Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania also did not happen.
Since the war began over two months ago, several EU heads of state and government have already travelled to the Ukrainian capital to show solidarity with the country under attack by Russia.
Mr Melnyk added: “This is about the most brutal war of extermination since the Nazi invasion of Ukraine, it’s not kindergarten.”
To make things worse for the German Chancellor, on Tuesday, Left Party politician Gregor Gysi will travel to Ukraine for several days.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and CDU leader Friedrich Merz are also planning their visits.
Russian military losses in Ukraine so far
Ambassador Melnyk said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would still be happy to receive Scholz in Kyiv.
But he added: “What Ukraine would look forward to, much more than any symbolic visits, is the traffic light government swiftly implementing the Bundestag’s request on the delivery of heavy weapons and fulfil the previous commitments.”
He criticised that there was still no ammunition for the promised Gepard anti-aircraft tanks.
The German Chancellor on Tuesday said that no-one could assume that Russia would not attack other countries given its violation of international law in Ukraine and Germany would support Finland and Sweden if they decided to join NATO.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine broke the post World War Two order and was forcing Europe to bolster its defence strategy, Scholz said in a statement to media flanked by the prime ministers of Sweden and Finland Magdalena Andersson and Sanna Marin.
The two leaders had joined the German cabinet for the start of its two-day retreat in Schloss Meseberg just north of the capital to discuss Europe’s security situation.
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Vladimir Putin calls Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a ‘special operation’
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that it describes a “special military operation”, Finland and Sweden have been considering applying for membership of the NATO western military alliance, which would mark a major policy shift for the Nordic region.
“No-one can assume that the Russian president and government will not on other occasions break international law with violence,” Mr Scholz said.
In a separate interview with Stern magazine, the Chancellor was quoted as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy was imperialistic and he regarded neighbouring countries as its Russia’s backyard.
“He wants to expand his territory and push borders with violence,” he said. “He is desperately trying to re-establish Russia’s old significance in a world that has changed.”
Putin appeared to want to capture a part of eastern and southern Ukraine, establishing a new contact line there that would eventually result in a ceasefire, he said.
“That will not be a sustainable solution,” he said. “Putin must strike a deal with Ukraine.”
Ms Marin said that Finland had credible defence capabilities and a strong will to defend itself.
“We have maintained a strong and modern conscript army that is able to operate and ready to act with NATO,” she said.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg