Germany’s Scholz Calls On EU, US To Send ‘Very Clear Signal’ To Putin 


By Nick Alipour

(EurActiv) — With the US still failing to unblock aid for Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed on Thursday (8 February) that both Brussels and Washington must do more to send a “very clear signal” to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Ahead of his departure to Washington, Scholz re-emphasised the urgency of upholding and enhancing support for Ukraine in its defensive efforts against Russia’s war of aggression.

While EU leaders last week unlocked a €50 billion long-term funding package for Kyiv, a US bipartisan deal on Ukraine aid failed to garner sufficient support from Republican senators yesterday, prolonging the blockade which continues to shackle Ukraine’s biggest donor.

“Now is the moment to send a very clear signal to (…) the Russian president that he cannot count on our support waning,” Scholz told reporters in Berlin.

Europe and America would “have to find a way to do more together”, he stressed, emphasising that “what has been earmarked in Europe and by the resolutions of the [US] Congress is still not enough”.

He added that “what is at stake is how Europe but also the United States may stabilise their support for Ukraine”. 

It is a message that he will bring to a dinner with lawmakers from the House of Representatives and the Senate, scheduled for tonight.

While the exact list of attendants has not been confirmed, the leaders of both chambers of Congress as well as the main lawmakers for foreign and defence policy are invited. 

In his meeting with US President Joe Biden on Friday, Scholz is expected to stress the urgency of the situation and alleviate US concerns about bearing the brunt, a senior government official said.

Germany “should not overestimate [its] influence in Washington”, pointing to the domestic bargaining behind the blockade, they said, asked by Euractiv.

“I believe what we can do during this visit is to emphasise once again the great necessity of continuing military support for Ukraine,” the official noted.

Scholz would make it “clear to the American audience that it does not stand alone with its aid, but that us Europeans are doing our part and that we see this as a joint transatlantic challenge”, they said.

Trump’s return looms large

Previously, Scholz had also rallied European countries to contribute more in military aid – though there have been calls on Scholz himself, too, to provide Ukraine with German Taurus missiles, which he has so far been reluctant to follow.

The potential return of former Republican President Donald Trump to office looms large over his visit, as it could have decisive implications for support for Ukraine.

Should Biden’s re-election bid fail in November, the trip could be among Scholz’s last bilateral meetings with Biden.

Trump has previously been critical of American support for Ukraine, vowing last year to end the war “in one day, 24 hours” if elected.

The priority that the chancellor has assigned to this opportunity for close coordination with Biden ahead of the American election campaign became evident from Scholz’s schedule, which prioritises additional time for talks with the American president over a final press statement, which has still not been confirmed.

Beyond coordination on aid for Ukraine, Scholz and Biden will also discuss the upcoming NATO summit in July. 

Moreover, the senior official expected the tense situation in the Middle East and progress towards a two-state solution – backed by both America and Germany – to play a role as well.


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