German chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet his US counterpart Joe Biden in Washington today (7 February) amid rising dissatisfaction with the German reluctance to take a clear stance on Russia.
“In the last 14 days, not everything has gone quite right in terms of communication,” she added.
However, Scholz emphasised that the inaugural trip to the US comes “at exactly the right time.”
“We are the country that has provided the largest economic and financial assistance to Ukraine since 2014”, Scholz added.
Biden orders 3,000 US troops to Romania, Poland and Germany amid Russia standoff
The United States will send nearly 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania to shield Eastern Europe from a potential spillover from the crisis over the massing of Russian troops near Ukraine, US officials said on Wednesday (2 February).
Weapon’s deliveries to Ukraine
Germany has opted not to deliver any defensive weaponry to Ukraine to help the country fend off a potential Russian invasion, and has even hampered its allies attempts to do so.
The German government has reportedly blocked Estonian arms exports to Ukraine, as the weapons in question were of German origin.
When the UK sent defensive weaponry to Ukraine, the planes delivering the arms did not fly over German airspace, leading international observers to believe that Germany did not greenlight it.
The German government has so far only agreed to send 5,000 helmets to Ukraine to assist their military. The move sparked mockery among German and international politicians.
For instance, Rupert Polenz, a prominent member of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet, tweeted in response to the announcement: “Could you get any more embarrassed?”
Ukraine’s foreign minister also criticised that the German reluctance to deliver weaponry to Ukraine would even “encourage” a Russian invasion.
NATO says Russia to have 30,000 troops on drills in Belarus, north of Ukraine
NATO said on Thursday (3 February) Russia had stepped up deployments to Ukraine’s northern neighbour Belarus in recent days and was expected to have 30,000 troops there for joint military exercises this month.
According to US intelligence, Russia has already assembled 70% of the troops needed to launch a full-scale invasion in Ukraine. The Kremlin has currently gathered 110,000 soldiers at the Ukrainian border and will reach the 150,000 soldiers needed for potentially occupying the country in mid-February.
However, Scholz insists that weapon deliveries would be the wrong route to take in the tense situation.
“For many years, the German government has had a clear policy that we do not deliver to crisis areas and that we do not deliver lethal weapons to Ukraine,” Scholz emphasised on Sunday.
While he stressed that any Russian aggression would be met with “harsh sanctions,” he emphasised that it would be of crucial importance to resume talks to prevent the conflict from spiralling out of control.
“At present, all our efforts are directed at preventing sanctions from becoming necessary and having to be used,” Scholz said.
To revitalise talks with Russia and to show Germany’s support to Ukraine, Scholz will travel to Kyiv and Moscow in mid-February.
German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock will already visit Kyiv today, to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. On Tuesday, she will also travel to the contact line between the Ukrainian forces and the Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Ukrainian minister faults Germany, says Russia may want GDR revived
Ukraine’s defence minister said on Friday (28 January) Berlin’s reluctance to supply Kyiv with weapons encourages Russian aggression, and suggested Moscow may hope to revive the German Democratic Republic in eastern Germany.