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Scholz promises Germany won't be 'party' in Ukraine war

July 3, 2024

The German chancellor has given a personal guarantee that the country will not become directly involved in the Ukraine war. He also spoke about Germany's 2025 domestic budget plans but gave little away.

Olaf Scholz speaking at the questions session
Scholz, who has previously rejected sending troops, guaranteed Germany would not be directly involvedImage: Michael Kappeler/dpa/picture alliance

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday assured citizens that Germany would not become a party to the war in its defensive fight against Moscow.

While Germany has been one of Ukraine's biggest weapon suppliers, Scholz has always balked at the idea of sending military personnel. The latest comments saw him double down on the premise that Germany should not become embroiled.

What the chancellor said about Ukraine

A socialist Left Party lawmaker had asked Scholz to guarantee that Germany would not be drawn into becoming a "party in the war" at a parliamentary questions session.

"Yes, I give this guarantee," said the center-left Social Democrat politician, referring to his previous rejection of direct involvement. "As chancellor, I stand by that."

Scholz has previously rejected the deployment of German soldiers to the war zone after French President Emmanuel Macron's announcement that he wanted to send military trainers to Ukraine.

Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has long said he views Germany and the Western military alliance NATO as a party to the war for their supply of weapons to Ukraine. However, this has not had any practical consequences so far.

Russia's war in Ukraine: Could NATO get even more involved?

Meanwhile, Scholz warned that Germany should not back any ceasefire in the war that would see Kyiv effectively surrender.

"In my view, a ceasefire that involves Ukraine's capitulation is one that we as Germany must never support."

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month demanded that Ukraine effectively surrender if it even wanted to begin peace talks.

What he said about the budget

The chancellor said Germany could assure NATO partners that it would continue to meet the so-called 2% defense spending target in the coming years.

The draft budget for 2025 would provide clarity with medium-term financial planning on how Germany will respond to the challenges, said Scholz.

The chancellor said measures envisaged for a "growth booster" as part of the budget that contained "a lot of very clever measures," without revealing details. "I like what I already know," he added.

While the three-party coalition was "not quite finished yet" with the consultations, Scholz said, they were in the "final meters" and he expected an agreement before Friday.

rc/ab (AFP, dpa, Reuters)