Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor who has been criticized for moving too slowly in providing weapons of death for Ukraine, said in an interview that he continues to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone and NATO should not be dragged into a conflict with Moscow.
Germany and the U.S. announced recently that they would provide Ukraine with battle tanks which Russia said was the latest example of how Western countries are active participants in the war.
Both Scholz and President Joe Biden rejected the claim.
Shortly after the tank announcement Kyiv said the next item on its wish list is fighter jets.
Scholz expressed a sense of exhaustion after just approving shipments of Leopard tanks. He said the conversation about fighter jets seems “frivolous and only works to undermine the German people’s trust in government decisions.”
“I can only advise against entering a bidding war over weapons systems,” he told the German newspaperTagesspiegel.
Al Jazeera noted that Scholz’s comments came shortly after Andriy Melnyk, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, appealed publicly for Germany to provide its Tornado jets that will be replaced by Lockheed Martin F-35s.
“I have a creative proposal for our German friends. The Bundeswehr has 93 Tornado multi-role combat aircraft that will be decommissioned soon and replaced by the F-35. Though it’s an old jet fighter, it is still very powerful. Why not deliver these Tornadoes to Ukraine, Chancellor Scholz?” he posted.
Melnyk also appealed to Germany to send its decommissioned frigate Lübeck and a Type 212A submarine.
TRENDPOST: As we have documented, he is a wannabe tough guy who was utterly embarrassed on social media when it was revealed that his 20-year-old son is avoiding military service in Ukraine because he is going to school in Germany. (See “PRO-NAZI WAR HAWK UKRAINE AMBASSADOR’S SON DODGING DRAFT IN GERMANY,” 11 Oct 2022.)
Melnyk faced backlash in July after he defended Stepan Bandera, the pro-Nazi Ukrainian nationalist leader whom Wikipedia notes led “the militant wing (OUN-B), served as head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists responsible for massacres and ethnic cleansings, also implicated in collaboration with Nazi Germany.” (See “TOP UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR: HEIL HITLER,” 5 Jul 2022.) We also noted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dodged the draft while he was still making a living as a clown.
It has been widely reported that the White House wanted NATO to appear united in the decision to send tanks, but there are widening fissures in the alliance, even when it comes to the best approach in communicating with Russia.
The U.S. has essentially no interaction with the Kremlin, and has said it will wait for Kyiv to initiate contact, which will be inherently challenging given that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law that he will not negotiate with Putin.
Scholz told the German paper that he will still continue to speak with Putin because he said it is important to keep communication lines open.
Scholz agreed to provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks, but he only made the decision after the U.S. said it will provide its own M1 Abrams tanks. Scholz has said he wants to act in unity with the alliance and has been careful not to make a decision that would make Germany a party to the war.
Scholz said his conversations with Putin have not been impolite, but “our perspectives are of course completely different.”
“And I will continue to phone Putin—because we have to keep talking to each other,” he said.
TRENDPOST: Dmitry Kuleba, Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and pitchman for more weapons, has depicted Scholz as a bashful dance partner.
“It’s always a similar pattern: first they say ‘no,’ then they fiercely defend their decision, only to say ‘yes,’ in the end,” he said. “We are still trying to understand why the German government is doing this to itself.”
Not all Western countries approach Russia with the same contempt as Washington and London. French President Emmanuel Macron has faced backlash for saying Putin’s forces should not be humiliated on the battlefield because of unpredictable consequences.
Macron said during an interview with journalists in January that Putin is not justified in starting the Ukraine War, but he is not “unpleasant” if you meet him.
“When you meet him like that, he’s not unpleasant,” Macron said, according to Russian outlet RT. “That’s the paradox.”