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Scholz says Putin 'will not achieve his goals' in Ukraine

February 8, 2023

The Chancellor is addressing parliamentarians regarding the upcoming EU special summit in Brussels. The topics on the agenda in the Belgian capital include climate protection, the war in Ukraine and migration.

Olaf Scholz in the Bundestag
Scholz's speech comes on the eve of an EU summitImage: Tobias Schwarz/AFP

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz  gave a speech at the Bundestag on Wednesday, highlighting the "shocking images" in the aftermath of the earthquake across Turkey and Syria, and the "man-made" disaster that is the war in Ukraine.

The address from Scholz, a Social Democrat (SPD), comes on the eve of a special EU summit, set to take place in Brussels on Thursday.

On the earthquake in Turkey, Syria

Scholz began his speech by addressing the earthquake that has killed thousands of people this week, across Turkey and Syria.

"Shocking images in the news have been reaching us. We are shocked in the face of so much destruction," Scholz said.

"The federal government has immediately promised support to the Turkish government," he continued. "I spoke to Turkish President Erdogan yesterday."

War-torn Syria braves earthquake devastation

On the war in Ukraine

He then addressed what he described as a "man-made" disaster — the war in Ukraine, which has sparked the "biggest migration movement on our continent since World War II," Scholz said.

"From the first day of the war our strongest characteristic lies in our cohesion. We will simply not allow a country to invade another and disrupt peace in Europe."

And Scholz said the EU sanctions "will continue" against Russia, "and may even be enhanced."

Scholz also assured Ukraine that its future lies in the EU ahead of the first anniversary of Russia's invasion.

"Ukraine belongs to Europe, its future lies in the European Union. And this promise holds true," Scholz said.

On Tuesday, Russia's defense minister said that Western arms supplies to Ukraine were effectively dragging NATO into the conflict, warning this could lead to an "unpredictable" escalation.

But Scholz hit back, as he said: "It is not NATO at war against Russia. It is Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

"Putin will not achieve his goals — not on the battlefield and not through a dictated peace," Scholz said. "This is clear after one year of this war."

Ukraine to get at least 100 Leopard tanks

Debate to follow address

A 90-minute debate followed Scholz's speech in the Bundestag.

Deputy Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) and Chancellery Minister Wolfgang Schmidt (SPD) faced questions from members of parliament.

Habeck told lawmakers that the EU's subsidy package to promote the climate-friendly restructuring of the economy needed to be reworked ahead of the upcoming EU summit in March.

"We don't have much time," he said, adding that the package needs to be made more concrete. It comes as a response to a similar package put forward in the US to boost the production of wind turbines, solar cells, batteries and electric vehicles.

Other items on Wednesday's agenda include a debate on the crisis in the housing market and a motion on restricting citizenship laws put forward by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The leaders of the 27 EU member states are set to take part in a two-day gathering where Ukraine policy is likely to be the focus again.

Also on the agenda in Brussels will be how climate change policies affect business and the issue of migration.

ab, jsi/es (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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