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Germany won't accept Putin-dictated Ukraine peace — Scholz

March 20, 2024

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has told lawmakers that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made a mistake if he thought Germany would stop supporting Ukraine. His speech, which preceded an EU summit, also touched on Gaza.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a speech at the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany on Wednesday, March 20
Scholz outlined Germany's objectives for the upcoming meeting on issues such as UkraineImage: Liesa Johannssen/REUTERS

Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Germany's lower house on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made a serious error if he thought Germany would relent in supporting Ukraine. 

Scholz's speech to the Bundestag preceded an EU summit in Brussels to focus on support for Ukraine, the situation in Gaza, and EU enlargement.

Scholz reaffirms Germany's relentless support for Ukraine

What Scholz told the Bundestag on Ukraine

Scholz said Germany was determined to help Ukraine defend itself from Putin's ambitions.

"If the Russian president believes that he just has to sit out this war and we will weaken in our support, then he has himself miscalculated," the center-left Social Democratic politician added.

"We will not accept a dictated peace at the expense of Ukraine," said Scholz, who stressed that borders should not be moved by force.

"Law is stronger than violence," he said, adding that Putin had wanted to change that with the attack on Ukraine, which violated international law. "We will not let him get away with this," said the chancellor.

"Russia is not strong," said Scholz, highlighting the manipulation of the elections in Russia and the pressure on the opposition are signs of that weakness.

Scholz, Tusk, Macron hold talks on Ukraine

Scholz calls Taurus missile debate 'ridiculous'

In his remarks, Scholz criticized the debate in Germany around the potential delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine, which the chancellor opposes.

"The debate in Germany is nothing short of ridiculous," he declared.

"This is embarrassing for us as a country," he said, arguing that the debate was not understood outside of Germany.

He pointed to the fact that Germany is Ukraine's second-largest supplier of military aid, saying that this must be recognized.

Scholz has argued that Taurus deliveries could spark further escalation with Russia and cause Germany to be drawn directly into the conflict. He said Ukraine would be able to use the missiles to strike deep into Russian territory and that Ukrainian forces would need guidance from German personnel to use them.

The opposition conservative CDU/CSU is in favor of the deliveries, having presented a number of motions to that effect in parliament.

What the chancellor said about Gaza

Scholz also called for "a timely "long-lasting cease-fire" in the Gaza Strip, including the release of hostages held by Hamas and other Islamist militants.

"More humanitarian aid must reach the Gaza Strip," said Scholz, adding that this must also be achieved with the help of Arab states. 

"I don't want to raise any false hopes here, but I have the impression at this moment that it is more realistic than it has been for a long time," he said.

Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization in the United States and the European Union, as well as Israel.

rc,sdi/sms (dpa, AFP)

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