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Germany's Scholz at Davos: 'Putin must not win this war'

May 26, 2022

"We cannot allow Putin to win this war," the German leader said on the final day of the World Economic Forum. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has dominated talks in Davos, Switzerland.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
Olaf Scholz faced criticism over his initial hesitancy towards sending heavy weapons to UkraineImage: Markus Schreiber/AP Photo/picture alliance

Olaf Scholz: Putin will not win this war

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addressed the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, with his remarks focused on the consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

This year's conference, which will conclude later on Thursday, took a theme of "History at a Turning Point" due to the conflict.

Scholz, who spoke in Davos for the first time as Germany's chancellor, is the only head of state from a G7 country to physically appear at this year's conference. He is also meeting with representatives of the business world on the sidelines in Davos.

What did Scholz say?

Scholz took aim at Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine.

"A major nuclear power is behaving as if it has the right to redraw borders," he said. "Putin wants a return to a world order in which might dictates what is right — in which freedom, determination and sovereignty are not for everyone.

"We cannot allow Putin to win this war," the chancellor said. "It is a matter of making it clear to Putin that there will be no dictated peace — Ukraine will not accept that and neither will we."

Scholz, who had been criticized for his initial hesitancy towards sending weapons to Ukraine, noted that Germany has now undergone a major shift in its defense policy.

Scholz: 'Putin wants a return to a world order in which strength dictates what is right'

"For the first time, Germany is supplying weapons to a war zone, including heavy weapons," he said, adding that €100 billion ($106 billion) would be made available to enhance Germany's defensive capabilities.

The chancellor also said that the war has increased pressure to meet climate change goals — especially in reducing reliance on fossil fuel imports from Russia.

Germany's push to become carbon neutral by 2045 has "gained even more importance" in light of the conflict.

Scholz 'under pressure' to assure Germany is reliable

After coming under fire from allies over not taking the lead in Europe's push for aid to Ukraine in the early weeks of the war, Scholz was keen to ease concerns over Germany's reliability, DW's Giulia Saudelli said.

"The chancellor really has been under pressure and he wanted to put forth that it is there for its allies and working towards ending its dependencies," said Saudelli.

Speaking from Davos, DW correspondent Ben Fajzullin noted that Scholz's speech attempted to rouse confidence in globalization after a conference that "has been a real downer" amid talks on the war, poverty and the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.

Scholz used his address to emphasize that "de-globalizing and de-coupling is a very dangerous thing right now when the world needs unity," Fajzullin said.

President Zelenskyy speaks to WEF

War dominates WEF talks in Davos

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke at the opening WEF session. He expressed concern about a lack of unity among Western allies in their support.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told elites in Davos that his nation "badly" needs multiple-launch rocket systems to match and defeat Russian arms in the Donbas.

"Every day of someone sitting in Washington, Berlin, Paris and other capitals, and considering whether they should or should not do something, costs us lives and territories," Kuleba said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that he is "confident" the military alliance will overcome Turkey's objections and admit Finland and Sweden. Both Nordic countries applied after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, breaking with a longstanding policy of military neutrality, while Turkey objects ostensibly as both countries have supported Kurdish groups opposed by Ankara.

In an address at Davos, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described the Russian blockade on Ukraine that is preventing grain from reaching world markets as "shameful." The blockade has resulted in a global price hike and concerns about global food security.

This year's WEF, hosted in the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos, was attended by 50 heads of state and government along with 2,500 delegates from the worlds of business, civil society, academia and media.

ar/rs (AFP, AP, dpa)

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