Amid speculation about possible disagreements over support for Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and US President Joe Biden made a demonstrative show of unity in Washington. They also promised further help at a meeting in the White House of Ukraine on Friday. "We are working together in lockstep to deliver critical security support to Ukraine," Biden said. For his part, Scholz emphasized that the transatlantic partnership was "really in very good condition".
In recent months, in the midst of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the impression of disagreements between Germany and the USA over support for Kiev has repeatedly arisen. At the meeting with Scholz in the White House, Biden was full of praise for the Chancellor. "I want to thank you, Olaf, for your strong and consistent leadership," said the US President. "I mean that honestly. It made a huge difference."
Germany is not only providing very important "military support," but also "moral support," which is very "deep," Biden said. Scholz also pushed for "historic changes" in Germany, increasing defense spending and moving away from reliance on Russian energy.
For his part, Scholz spoke of "very good cooperation" with the USA. It was important that both countries "acted together" in support of Kiev after the start of the Russian war of aggression a good year ago. "Now it is very important that we send out the message that we will continue to do this for as long as it takes and as long as it is necessary," said Scholz, who spoke in English.
A White House statement released after the meeting said Scholz and Biden had also reiterated that they would impose and maintain punitive measures against Russia "for as long as necessary" for its war of aggression. The White House also emphasized the "strong bilateral relationship" between the United States and Germany.
However, cooperation between the two states on military aid to Ukraine has not always been smooth. In January, for example, tensions arose between the two governments over the issue of supplying western main battle tanks. On Sunday, Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, caused a stir when he said the president only agreed to supply US Abrams main battle tanks because otherwise Germany would not have supplied Leopard 2 tanks.
Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk expressed concern about friction between Germany and the United States. "Of course, from a Ukrainian point of view, it is important for the United States and Germany, our key allies, to coordinate their military aid as closely as possible," the former Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin told RTL and ntv. Melnyk also reiterated Ukraine's demand for Western fighter jets.
Both Biden and Scholz have so far refused a delivery of fighter jets. In principle, their talks in Washington behind closed doors were probably also about further military aid for Kiev. The topic was probably also US fears that China could supply weapons to Russia.
Contrary to custom, Scholz and Biden did not appear together before the press after their conversation. The Chancellor, who was received by Biden in Washington for the second time after his inaugural visit in February 2022, left the White House after just under an hour and a half.
On the fringes of Scholz's visit, the United States announced new military aid for Ukraine amounting to 400 million dollars (around 377 million euros). The package includes, among others, ammunition for Himars multiple rocket launchers, artillery ammunition and ammunition for Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said in Moscow that Western arms deliveries to Ukraine would "have no decisive influence on the outcome of the offensive". But it is "clear that they will prolong this conflict, with sad consequences for the Ukrainian people".