The long road from Olaf Scholz to Kiev | Germany – current German policy. DW news in Polish | DW

Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, is known for his sharp tongue. When information leaked that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz would go to Kiev with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Melnyk posted a photo of five tanks on Twitter, addressing the German government below: you the Ukrainian army these combat vehicles Marder infantry that Rheinmetall can immediately deliver while Ukraine bleeds in front of your eyes in Donbas?

Moments later, the ambassador told the German news agency DPA: “Ukrainians expect that during his visit to Kiev, Chancellor Olaf Scholz will announce the award of a new aid package of German weapons products, which definitely contains both Leopard 1 tanks that can be delivered immediately and IFV’s Marder. .

Earlier, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, pushed for additional and faster deliveries of weapons from the West. The newspaper “Bild” quoted Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschka as saying: “We need the support of the three leaders of the main countries with strict sanctions and the supply of weapons as soon as possible.” Putin’s interests do not end with Kiev and the border with Poland. “He will go as far as we let him. War will also knock on the door of the Germans.

It’s not just about the photo

Expectations are high regarding the visit of two heads of government and a head of state to Ukraine, which has not yet been confirmed by Germany. Probably also because the chancellor had postponed his departure for so long. Olaf Scholz has long been invited to Kiev. Initially, however, he did not use it. Reason: In April, the Ukrainian government refused to invite President Frank-Walter Steinmeier because of his alleged overreach to the Kremlin.

Steinmeier wanted to visit Kiev, but was not allowed; Scholz was allowed, but did not want to. The insult seemed too great to him. And in such a situation, Ukrainian ambassador Melnyk added fuel to the fire, calling Scholz “offensive”. At the end, Steinmeier and Zelenskiy explained everything to each other. But even then, Scholz hesitated. “I do not join those who mainly want to come for a short photo shoot and come back soon,” the chancellor said in mid-May.

from left: Mario Draghi, Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz

No heavy weapons have arrived from Germany yet

At that time, the CDU opposition leader Friedrich Merz had already visited Kiev. At the beginning of May, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Green Party, Annalena Baerbock, appeared as the first member of the cabinet. However, this was followed by a loud speech by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was remembered for his pledge to increase military and economic support and build a global alliance “to end this tragedy”.

The President of Ukraine invited the German Chancellor some time ago

The President of Ukraine invited the German Chancellor some time ago

The contrast with Olaf Scholz became more and more apparent. The United Kingdom, the United States and Eastern Europe had already started supplying Ukraine with various military equipment. Scholz instead warned of a third world war. He would not send heavy weapons until the pressure, especially from Washington, became too great. Recently, the Chancellor has promised not only tanks and howitzers, but also an Iris-T air defense system and four multi-lead rocket launchers. So far, however, only light weapons and ammunition have reached Ukraine.

“Neglect” needs to be corrected

“Today, words must be followed by actions,” said DW Henning Hoff of the German Foreign Policy Association (DGAP). – Ideally, after the re-election of Emmanuel Macron, Scholz would visit Kiev together with French President. It would be a clear signal of solidarity and support. But better late than never, he says. Now, in his opinion, the chancellor must “correct the negligence”, including with regard to the promised rocket launchers and modern air defense systems.

The critical perception of the speeches, and especially of the (in)activity of Olaf Scholz in Eastern Europe, was already felt last week during the meeting in Vilnius with the heads of state and government of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Former Soviet republics fear they could become the next victims of Russian aggression if Putin succeeds in Ukraine.

Should Ukraine win the war or not just lose it?

Scholz continued to use the phrase, “Russia cannot win this war.” He avoids stating that Ukraine must win this war. Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins apparently referred to these words and said: “Our aim is clear: Russia must lose this war and Ukraine must win it”.

Destroyed Russian tank deployed in Kiev

Destroyed Russian tank deployed in Kiev

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas complained about the arms supply during her visit to Berlin at the end of April: – We are 65 times smaller than Germany. And we have provided six times more military aid than Germany.

Duda: Did someone say that Hitler should save face?

Many Eastern Europeans are highly critical of Scholz and French President Macron’s telephone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which were conducted without the intervention of other partners. Moreover, Macron has repeatedly warned: Russia must not be humiliated and Putin must be able to leave the war without a face. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda dryly noted in Scholz’s presence that “negotiating with a dictator is a very complicated matter”.

Polish President Andrzej Duda went even further. On June 9, he wrote about the talks with Putin in the newspaper “Bild”: “They only legitimize the man responsible for the crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine.” Duda referred to the Nazi era: “Did anyone talk like that to Adolf Hitler during World War II? Did someone say that Adolf Hitler had to save face? Everyone knew: he must be beaten.

The fate of Ukraine

Ukraine and other Eastern European countries are still missing something from Scholz: a clear recognition of Ukraine’s EU perspective. The significance of such a statement would go beyond the prospect of future membership, the Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung noted in early June: “Refuse to give Kiev security guarantees in good time after the war, e.g. through the prospect of membership,” acts as a “reconciliation”.

“Macron and Scholz act as if the fate of Ukraine is of secondary importance to them. Impression can be wrong, but perception is also reality. This is especially true during war, where the combat morale of the combatants can be decisive. At this level, Berlin and Paris become involuntary helpers of the Kremlin,” the NZZ estimates.

In early May, the head of the CDU, Friedrich Merz, visited Ukraine

In early May, the head of the CDU, Friedrich Merz, visited Ukraine

Difficult goodbye to pacifism

On the other hand, the Anglo-Saxon media has recently been a bit more friendly towards Scholz. “Looking at their history and the development of their pacifist policies, Germany is helping Ukraine more than many expected,” wrote British weekly Economist. Thomas Friedman marveled in the New York Times that Germany “overnight lost its nearly 80-year-old fear of joining conflicts,” massively increased defense spending and plans to supply arms to Ukraine .

Henning Hoff of DGAP presents a mixed balance: “Perhaps more than three decades have happened in German security and defense policy in the last three months, with the support of the vast majority of society,” he says. However, from the point of view of the Allies, the Federal Republic reaches only the present. – But more is expected from Germany, namely a much clearer takeover of leadership responsibility than before.

Together with France and Italy? Should it happen, the trip of Olaf Scholz, Emmanuel Macron and Mario Draghi to Kiev has high expectations. Whether they will be implemented remains to be seen.

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