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"You can't negotiate with a gun to your temple"

In his government statement, Chancellor Olaf Scholz appealed to China not to supply weapons to Russia.

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"You can't negotiate with a gun to your temple"

In his government statement, Chancellor Olaf Scholz appealed to China not to supply weapons to Russia. "Use your influence in Moscow to urge the withdrawal of Russian troops and do not deliver weapons to the aggressor Russia," the social democrat appealed to the leadership in Beijing on Thursday. At the same time, Scholz defended German arms deliveries to Ukraine.

You won't create "peace if you shout 'never again war' here in Berlin - and at the same time demand that all arms deliveries to Ukraine be stopped," he said, emphasizing that there would be no peace agreement over the heads of the Ukrainians. “Love of peace does not mean submission to a larger neighbor. If Ukraine stopped defending itself, it would not be peace, it would be the end of Ukraine," said Scholz. Germany will support Kiev "as long as it is necessary".

The imperialism of Russian President Vladimir Putin should not be allowed to prevail. "Only then will the achievements of civilization endure, on which our peace is also built," said Scholz. At the moment there is also nothing to suggest that Putin is even willing to start peace negotiations. Instead, the Kremlin boss relied on threats. "With a gun to your temple, there is no negotiation except about your own submission."

With regard to the Chinese attitude, Scholz called it "disappointing" that the country no longer clearly condemned the Russian war of aggression and did not speak directly to those affected, the government in Kiev.

"Putin miscalculates when he believes that time is playing for him," Scholz continued. The sooner Putin understands that he cannot achieve his goals and that the international community will not tolerate the breach of international law, "the greater the chance of an end to this war. That's why we stand so firmly on the side of Ukraine in its defense," said Scholz, explaining the government's policy.

The chancellor reaped scornful laughter from the plenary for his assessment of the “turning point”, which he announced on February 27, 2022 – three days after the start of the war – in a special session of the Bundestag. "Germany has also become more resilient in the light of the turning point," Scholz said. This becomes most obvious when you look at the Bundeswehr. "We are putting an end to the neglect of our armed forces".

A year ago, Scholz announced a 100 billion program to upgrade the Bundeswehr. The first delivery of arms to Ukraine for the defense against Russia had already been decided the day before - breaking a taboo.

Opposition leader Friedrich Merz (CDU) sharply attacked left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht in the debate on the government statement. Wagenknecht's statement on public television that there were rapes on both sides in the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine was "cynical, inhuman, vile" and "shameful for our entire country," says Merz, without naming the politician. Wagenknecht advocates an immediate stop to arms deliveries from Germany and a peace initiative by the federal government.

Merz accused the Chancellor of a lack of speed in expanding the Bundeswehr. The defense budget has fallen despite the announcement that more than two percent of gross domestic product will be spent on defense. Of the 100 billion euro special pot, the so-called special fund for the Bundeswehr, only 600 million have been spent. "What actually happened in the second half of 2022 that the promises you made are actually implemented?"

With regard to the Russian attack on Ukraine, Merz added that security in Europe would no longer have to be organized with Russia for “years, if not decades”, but against it. "And for that, Mr. Chancellor, decisions have to be made and not just government statements made."

After the Russian attack on Ukraine, not only Germany recognized that something had to change in defense policy. Clemens Wergin, WELT's chief foreign policy correspondent, summarizes what has happened in our partner countries since then.

Source: WELT/Clemens Wergin

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