Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to continue trying to work towards an end to the war against Ukraine in direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"I will also be on the phone with Putin again - because it is necessary to talk to each other," the SPD politician told the "Tagesspiegel": "It is up to Putin to withdraw troops from Ukraine and end this terrible, nonsensical war that has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands."
As long as Russia continues the war with undiminished aggression, the current situation will not change, said Scholz. Although the phone calls with Putin were "not impolite in tone", he made it clear again and again that he wanted "to incorporate parts of his neighboring country by force", which was "unacceptable".
Withdrawal of Russian troops as a prerequisite
"Sometimes there were also specific questions about the exchange of prisoners, grain exports from Ukraine and the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant," said Scholz: "But it's important to me that the talks keep coming back to the actual topic: How is the world getting out of this terrible situation Situation out? The prerequisite for this is clear: the withdrawal of Russian troops."
With a view to new demands for the delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine, Scholz warned against "entering into a constant outbidding competition when it comes to weapon systems". The question of combat aircraft does not even arise. "When the next debate begins in Germany as soon as a decision has been made, it doesn't seem serious and shakes the confidence of the citizens in state decisions," emphasized Scholz, referring to the recent decision to deliver battle tanks to Kyiv.
"Do not allow" escalation between Russia and NATO
Scholz reiterated: "A German chancellor who takes his oath of office seriously must do everything to ensure that Russia's war against Ukraine does not turn into a war between Russia and NATO." There is no such thing, and he will “not allow such an escalation”. There is complete agreement on this in the federal government. "The Foreign Minister also sees it that way," emphasized Scholz, referring to Annalena Baerbock.
The Greens politician called on Tuesday at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg for the cohesion of the western allies with the following words: "We are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other." A spokesman for the Federal Foreign Office said on Friday in Berlin that the longer discussion in which the statement was made was about emphasizing that the EU, the G7 countries and NATO are united against the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine .
In this context, Scholz also spoke at a press conference in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires last night. During his state visit to the Latin American country, he reiterated that, in his view, Germany was not taking part in the Ukraine war, despite extensive arms deliveries. "This is a war between Russia and Ukraine," said Scholz.
"That doesn't change if we provide Ukraine with financial, humanitarian aid or arms." Germany will do everything to ensure that there is no escalation that leads to a war between Russia and NATO countries. "That's out of the question for us. We'll do everything to ensure that it doesn't happen."