The chancellor’s comments follow repeated requests by Ukrainian politicians for fighter jets after battle tanks were pledged for the war against Russia.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz once again dismissed demands in Germany and Ukrainian officials for fighter jets to repel the Russian invasion, and urged Western countries not to join the “bidding war” for advanced weapons.
Last week, Germany announced that it would deliver its Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine after weeks of pressure from NATO and European Union allies.
“The fact that we just made a decision [on sending tanks] And already the next discussion [fighter jets] It flares up in Germany – it just seems trivial and undermines people’s confidence in the government’s decisions, “said Schultz V Interview With the German newspaper Tagesspiegel on Sunday.
“I can only advise against getting into a bidding war for weapons systems.”
Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnik pressed Germany for dozens of its Tornado fighter jets, urging the international community to join his country’s “fighter aircraft alliance”.
I have a creative proposal for our German friends. The Bundeswehr has 93 Tornado multirole combat aircraft that will soon be retired and replaced by the F-35.
Although she is an old fighter, she is still very strong. Why is this Tornado not delivered to Ukraine @tweet? pic.twitter.com/KxTZdUQLAS
– Andrej Melnyk (@MelnykAndrij) January 15, 2023
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky once again asked Western countries to supply his country with more advanced weapon systems in his daily address on Saturday. Zelensky specifically mentioned the Army’s Tactical Missile System (ATACMS).
“There can be no arms embargo to protect against Russian terrorism,” said the Ukrainian president.
Russia last week condemned the delivery of NATO battle tanks to Ukraine, calling it “direct and growing” evidence of US and European involvement in the war.
“Keep talking” to Putin
The German leader also said he would continue contacting Russian President Vladimir Putin, stressing the importance of maintaining an open channel of communication in order to find an end to Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The tone of the conversations, Scholz said, “wasn’t impolite, but of course our views are very different.”
“And I will keep calling Putin – because we have to keep talking to each other,” he said.
The last phone call to Putin was in early December. The Russian leader said at the time that the German and Western line on Ukraine was “destructive” and called on Berlin to rethink its approach.
Scholz said the talks were mostly about “concrete issues” such as prisoner exchanges, Ukraine’s grain exports, and the fate of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.
“For me, it is important that the talks continue to return to the main point: How does the world get out of this terrible situation? The condition is clear: the withdrawal of Russian forces,” Schultz said in the interview.
Schultz also warned that NATO should not be drawn into a war with Moscow.
He stressed that “the seriously sworn German chancellor must do everything possible to ensure that Russia’s war against Ukraine does not turn into a war between Russia and NATO,” adding that he would not “allow such an escalation.”
The Leopard 2 announcement, followed shortly thereafter by an American pledge of M1 Abrams tanks to Kyiv, angered the Kremlin.
At the moment, there are no agreed talks [with Scholz] in the table. RIA Novosti quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Putin was and remains open to contacts.
Germany is the second largest donor of military equipment to Ukraine after the United States, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, ahead of other European powers such as France and Britain.
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