Chancellor Olaf Scholz expects a signal of cohesion and determination from the NATO summit in Madrid in view of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. “A partnership with Russia, as stated in the Strategic Concept of 2010, is unimaginable for the foreseeable future with Putin’s aggressive, imperialist Russia,” said the SPD politician in his government statement.
At the same time, the Chancellor warned against drawing the wrong conclusions. “It would be unwise for us to denounce the NATO-Russia Founding Act,” he said. That would only play into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his propaganda. The Founding Act reaffirms the very principles that Putin so blatantly violates:
The renunciation of violence, respect for borders, the sovereignty of independent states. Putin should be reminded of this again and again.
In the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997, NATO also undertook to refrain from permanently stationing “substantial combat troops” in the eastern alliance area. The planned long-term increase in NATO’s presence on the eastern flank could further increase tensions with Russia.
Ukraine will be supported as long as necessary
Scholz has pledged continued German and European support to Ukraine in the fight against the Russian war of aggression – including with weapons. “Ukraine is getting the weapons that it particularly needs in the current phase of the war,” said the SPD politician. Germany is supplying the weapons – “today and in the future,” emphasized Scholz.
Ukraine has every right to defend itself against Russia, said Scholz. “And it is our duty as European neighbors, as defenders of justice and freedom, as friends and partners of Ukraine, to support them as best we can.” Europe stands united on the side of the Ukrainian people, the Federal Chancellor assured.
“We will continue to support Ukraine massively – financially, economically, humanitarianly, politically and not least with the delivery of weapons,” he said, adding: “For as long as Ukraine needs our support.”
This is how the training of Ukrainian soldiers on the Gepard anti-aircraft tanks is going, said the Chancellor. Training on the promised multiple rocket launchers will begin in the coming days. A few days ago, the contract for the Iris-T air defense system, which could protect an entire city from air raids, was signed between Ukraine and industry. A first ring exchange of weapons with the Czech Republic is in place, talks with other exchange partners are being conducted at high pressure, emphasized Scholz.
NATO partners in the East can rely on Germany
Against the background of the dispute between Russia and Lithuania over the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has assured the eastern NATO partners of Germany’s full alliance solidarity. “We will defend every square meter of the alliance area,” said the SPD politician.
From their own history, the Germans know what they owe this promise, said Scholz. “And that’s why our NATO partners in Eastern Europe can rely on Germany today. We are going to the NATO summit next week with this commitment.” Because other allies have also committed themselves to joint responsibility for security with very specific contributions, he is firmly convinced: “The NATO summit will send out a signal of cohesion and determination.”
Germany does not just leave it at words, emphasized Scholz. Immediately after the start of the war, additional soldiers and military capabilities such as air defense were transferred to the eastern alliance area. An agreement had been reached with Lithuania to permanently strengthen the German presence there and to assign a robust Bundeswehr brigade to the country. Germany will also expand its presence with air and naval forces in the Baltic Sea region and is in the process of sending soldiers to Slovakia to secure the airspace.
“27 times yes to candidate status”
At the upcoming EU summit, Scholz wants to campaign for granting Ukraine the status of a candidate country. “27 yes to candidate status” is his goal, says Scholz. This also applies to Moldova. The EU must finally live up to its promises to the Western Balkan countries. However, this also requires reforms in the European Union in order to be receptive. Among other things, less unanimity and more qualified majority decisions are needed, for example in foreign policy.
Three summits are imminent: EU, G7 and NATO
The heads of state and government of the European Union will meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. Against the background of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the focus is on the country’s and Moldova’s candidacy for EU accession. On Friday, the EU Commission recommended officially nominating Ukraine and Moldova as candidates for EU membership.
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Scholz was with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi last week together in Kyiv. Scholz and Macron had campaigned for Ukraine to receive candidate status.
After the European Council, there are two more summits for Scholz. Starting Sunday, the heads of state and government of the seven leading industrial nations will meet at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria for a three-day G7 summit. Next to the Ukraine war the fight against hunger and global warming are the dominant themes here. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also wants to take part.
At the NATO summit from June 28th to 30th in Madrid, the alliance partners want to discuss a new strategic concept. The planned admission of Finland and Sweden should also be an issue currently blocked by Turkey.
At the beginning of the Bundestag session on Wednesday (1 p.m.), Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) will answer questions from MPs. Almost four months after the start of the war, the first heavy weapons from Germany arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday in the form of Panzerhaubitze 2000 artillery pieces. (dpa, reuters)