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Scholz: Putin started war for 'completely absurd' reasons

August 21, 2022

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Russian President Vladimir Putin started the war with the goal of "conquering" Ukraine. Scholz said NATO was never a threat to Russia.

Olaf Scholz met Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 15
Olaf Scholz met Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 15, nine days before Russia invaded UkraineImage: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/dpa/picture alliance

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of launching an attack on Ukraine for "completely absurd" reasons.

"NATO was never a threat to Russia," he said on Sunday in Berlin during a public dialogue on the federal government's open day.

Moscow has been accusing NATO of increasing eastward expansion to the detriment of Russia's interests for years.

According to Scholz, during the talks before the war started in February, he assured Putin that Ukraine would not join NATO "in the next 30 years."

However, Putin had "completely absurd" ideas, Scholz said. The Russian president told him, for example, that Belarus and Ukraine should not actually be independent states.

Scholz condemns Putin's imperialism

Olaf Scholz is certain that Vladimir Putin planned this war long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.

"This is a war that Putin, Russia, started, clearly with the intention of conquering its neighboring country. I think that was the original goal," Scholz said comparing Russia's actions with the early days of imperialism.

Russia is currently concerned with gaining territory in eastern Ukraine, but it is not certain that it will stay that way, the Chancellor said, so giving in is not a sensible strategy.

"Putin actually had the idea of ​​swiping a felt-tip pen across the European landscape and then saying, 'This is mine and this is yours,'" Scholz said adding that Germany cannot accept that.

However, Scholz announced that he would not end the dialogue with Putin.

Can Putin survive the war in Ukraine politically?

Scholz defends arms deliveries to Ukraine

In response to the former Bundeswehr General Klaus Wittmann, who had asked why Germany was not supplying armored personnel carriers to Ukraine, Scholz listed the deliveries of weapons of other types that had already taken place and were still planned.

"Germany supplies a lot of weapons" and is "in the meantime in the process of supplying the most modern and efficient equipment," Scholz stressed. But it is also about "ensuring that there is no escalation of the war".

Scholz referred to the deliveries of the Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, the Panzerhaubitze 2000 and multiple rocket launchers, as well as planned deliveries of the Iris-T air defense system and the Cobra artillery radar.

"It'll be there soon," he assured. Germany will continue to provide Ukraine "with what it needs for its defense," the Chancellor said.

dh/jcg (dpa, AFP)

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