Czech Republic, Prague: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, and French President Emmanuel Macron, walk to Prague Castle after a joint meeting on the sidelines of the informal EU summit.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron said last week that they will continue their support for Ukraine and that now is not the time to be considering peace negotiations. 

The two spoke at the Munich Security Conference and Macron reiterated that Russia cannot be allowed to win the war. Scholz said Europe needs to be ready for a grinding fight. 

“I think it is wise to be prepared for a long war and it is wise to give Putin the message that we are ready to stay all the time together with you Ukraine,” Scholz said.

Thus far, Germany contributed the most money of any EU country to Ukraine, with 2.34 billion euros by last November.

TRENDPOST: It is worth noting that while Scholz and Macron agreed to keep supporting Ukraine, they both shied away from agreeing to provide newer, more powerful weapons—like fighter jets—that Russia said would be a dramatic escalation. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that in Washington and in other European capitals, there are political differences emerging “over how far and how long the West can keep supporting Ukraine financially and militarily.” 

Macron has represented the more moderate opinion of how he wants the Ukraine War to end. He said, “I do not think, as some people do, that we must aim for a total defeat of Russia, attacking Russia on its own soil. Those observers want to, above all else, crush Russia. That has never been the position of France and it will never be our position,” he told Le Journal du Dimanche, the French paper.

Russia was not invited to the Munich conference. Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, praised the decision not to invite Russia because it is a “terrorist state.”

Germany’s Role 

Scholz explained to the conference that Germany plays an important role in European security. He said Berlin “acknowledges its responsibility for the security of Europe and the NATO alliance area, without ifs and buts,” Politico reported.

He said Germany’s “size, location, and economic strength has to shoulder in times like these.”

Germany first took a pragmatic approach to the war, but has since proved to be one of Kyiv’s biggest supporters and announced a major overhaul to its own military. (See “U.S. OKs $8.4B WEAPONS DEAL FOR GERMANY, MAKING WAR-MACHINE VERY HAPPY” 2 Aug 2022 and “HEIL GERMANY AS IT RAMPS UP WAR MACHINE TO BE EU’S TOP FORCE”28 Jun 2022.) 

Berlin has already earmarked $107 billion for military projects and will now spend 2 percent of its GDP on its military. Politico reported that Scholz said Berlin would “permanently” adhere to NATO’s goal of alliance members spending 2 percent of their GDP on their defense. The report noted that Germany will miss this year’s target and next year’s, even with the $107 billion in new investments.

Boris Pistorius, the German defense minister, said Berlin must commit to an even higher percentage of its GDP for the military to make good on its promises. 

“It must be clear to everyone: It will not be possible to fulfill the tasks that lie ahead of us with barely two percent,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted Germany’s active role in the conflict and its decision to provide Ukraine with its Leopard 2 tanks. (See “PUTIN SAYS GERMAN NAZIS ARE AGAIN AT WAR WITH RUSSIA,” 7 Feb 2023.) 

Putin told a crowd earlier this month, marking the 80th anniversary of Russia’s victory in the Battle of Stalingrad, that Russia finds itself once again being threatened by German tanks.

“It’s incredible, but it’s a fact: They are threatening us again with German Leopard tanks with crosses painted on their armor,” Putin said. “And they are again going to fight Russia on the territory of Ukraine with the hands of Hitler’s followers, the Banderites.”

Scholz called out allies for not speeding up the delivery of these tanks to Ukraine since they have been approved. He was asked at the Munich Security Conference if he was pushing these countries to provide the tanks and he said, “That’s a question I have to ask to others, especially those who were so much urging [me] to act.”

The Financial Times noted how Germany was pressured publicly by European countries to give the OK for countries to unleash these tanks. Germany has agreed to send 14 Leopards, but “few other countries have committed any of their own stockpiles of the tank.”

Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, said the alliance will “revisit” the pledge to spend 2 percent of GDPs on their military budget because the world is more dangerous now with a “full-fledged war going on in Europe,” along with the growing threat from China. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to portray Ukraine as the first defense for Europe against an invading Russia. Zelensky addressed the conference and said the war is not just about Ukraine…the “point is that Goliath must lose and there is no alternative to this.”

He, again, said timing is important and “delayed decisions are a resource that Putin’s dictatorship lives on.”

But Macron noted how the West’s attempt to pull in Africa, Asia, and Latin America has come up short and he said he is “struck by how we have lost the trust of the global south.” 

He called Russia’s conflict in Ukraine a “neo colonialist and imperialist” invasion that “broke all taboos.” 

TRENDPOST: France would know a “neo colonialist and imperialist” invasion when it sees one, considering its history in Africa. (See “FRANCE, ALLIED COUNTRIES ANNOUNCE WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM MALI” 22 Feb 2022 and “MALI: FRANCE WANTS ITS COLONY BACK” 12 November 2019.) 

We have pointed out in previous issues that France has held a colonial-power relationship with Mali for 50 years in order to exploit its resources as well as the uranium in Niger. 

This includes propping up government leaders who support the exploitation while opposing protesters in mining areas who are angered over environmental degradation and the outflow of resources to France.

Macron also announced plans to increase military spending from Є295 billion in its last budget cycle, which ends in 2025, to Є400 billion from 2024 to 2030. The jump represents a 40 percent increase in defense spending.

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