BERLIN – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has defended his widely criticized refusal to send heavy weapons to Ukraine, citing the risk of nuclear war.
“I said very early on that we must do everything we can to avoid a direct military confrontation between NATO and a highly armed superpower like Russia, a nuclear power,” Scholz told the German weekly newspaper The mirror in an interview published on Friday, adding that he would continue to strive to “prevent an escalation that would lead to a third world war”.
“There must be no nuclear war,” he said.
When asked what convinced him that sending German tanks to Ukraine would trigger a catastrophic reaction from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Scholz replied: “There is no textbook for this situation that can be used to read when we as a be perceived as warlike.”
“That’s why I don’t blink at poll numbers or let shrill shouts irritate me,” added the chancellor, obviously referring to the growing criticism of his attitude at home and abroad. “The consequences of a mistake would be dramatic,” he said.
Ukraine’s government has urged western allies to urgently send large quantities of heavy weapons to help fight the Russian invasion, which has now entered a new phase centered on the east of the country.
The opposition Christian Democrats increased the pressure on Scholz and announced that they would submit a motion to parliament next week asking the government to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine.
“The chancellor doesn’t listen to arguments and justifies his policy with new excuses,” said CDU MP Johann Wadephul tweeted.
The Social Democratic chancellor has fallen out with Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of the Greens on this issue, and some of the FDP – the third governing party – are also openly opposed to the chancellor.
“In close cooperation with the USA, France, Italy, Great Britain and Canada, we have supplied weapons for the upcoming fighting in eastern Ukraine,” Scholz insisted to Der Spiegel when asked whether he saw Germany as the main financier of the Ukrainian war effort and others should send weapons.
However, he acknowledged that “the Bundeswehr’s opportunities to supply more weapons from its arsenal have largely been exhausted,” arguing that Germany’s austerity in defense had left its mark on the Bundeswehr.
Echoing Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht’s comments, Scholz said that instead of supplying Berlin with heavy weapons directly, several Eastern European NATO partners would supply weapons from Soviet stocks that “are used without lengthy training, without further logistics and without soldiers from our country can countries.”
Germany would then “gradually fill the gaps created by these supplies… as just discussed in the case of Slovenia,” he said.
https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-chancellor-olaf-scholz-nuclear-war-tanks-heavy-weapons-ukraine-russia-invasion/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Olaf Scholz calls danger of nuclear war in refusal to send tanks to Ukraine - POLITICO