Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to travel to Kyiv this Thursday. But his visit will not change the fact that the Ukrainians are disappointed with the German attitude. For Scholz, the priority seems to be that Germany comes through the war as unscathed as possible.
In view of the threat of military defeats, Ukraine is, there is no other way to put it, fed up with the pendulum policy of the Germans, but also of other Western countries. And even Olaf Scholz’s imminent visit will only do little to change the feeling of being left in the lurch. Because the Chancellor will not be able to meet Ukraine’s expectations.
Two figures make this clear. According to Ukraine’s presidential adviser Mikhaylo Podolyak, Russia fires 70,000 projectiles a day into Ukrainian territory. That is ten times what Ukrainian artillery is capable of shooting down. In order to achieve military parity with Russia, Ukraine therefore needs ten times as many weapons from the West as the West is currently supplying: 1,000 self-propelled howitzers, 300 multiple rocket launchers, 500 tanks, 2,000 other armored vehicles and 1,000 drones.
Not a single heavy weapon from Germany is currently in use in Ukraine. Ukrainian soldiers are being trained on such systems in Germany, howitzers have been promised, but ring exchanges promised by the federal government have not yet worked. The “New York Times” now quotes the Zelenskyj adviser Podolyak as follows: “If you think we should lose, say it to our faces: ‘We want you to lose.’ Then we can understand why you shoot us up with guns give this (low) level.”
A few days ago, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said: There are countries that Ukraine is waiting for arms deliveries and “countries that we are tired of waiting for”. This obviously meant Germany and France. Immediately before Scholz’s visit to his country, Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy rejected the German Chancellor’s claim that no one was supplying arms on a similar scale to Germany. Germany and France were “a little later with the arms deliveries,” said Zelenskyj in a remarkable interview with ZDF – the USA, Slovakia, Poland and Great Britain were earlier. Incidentally, he was also not prepared to “confirm” Scholz’s statements, said Selenskyj.
It is fitting that the Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov’s attempt to find out from the German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht when the Mars II multiple rocket launcher system, personally promised by the Chancellor, would arrive in Ukraine failed. Military expert Gustav Gressel from the European Council on Foreign Relations says that in his controversial phone calls with the Russian president, Scholz was “too much” impressed by his threats of a third world war or the use of nuclear weapons. There is absolutely nothing to be said for this scenario designed by Vladimir Putin.
In any case, Putin’s psychological warfare accompanies the massive destruction his soldiers are wreaking in Ukraine. Ukraine circulates an aerial view of the eastern Ukrainian town of Popasna, which was completely destroyed, virtually wiped out, by the Russians. Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk tweeted a surreal photo of a prom in the northern city of Chernihiv, showing teenagers surrounded by completely destroyed houses.
In addition, Ukrainian losses are now twice as high as at the end of last month – around 200 soldiers are killed every day. From a strategically cool perspective, this means that Ukraine has 1,000 fewer fighters available on the front lines every day if you count the number of wounded, writes The Washington Post. In return, the Russians are constantly increasing their supplies.
Selenskyj demands from Scholz not only faster arms deliveries and an assurance – anything but certain – of an EU candidate status, but more consistent economic sanctions. But the Chancellor doesn’t want to know anything about that. On the contrary: as the “Spiegel” writes without being contradicted, the federal government has agreed to circumvent Russia’s “arbitrary ruble rule” when buying natural gas “with half-witted account tricks”. Zelenskyj now speaks of a fundamental “skepticism” in Germany towards Ukraine. This had been felt long before Scholz became chancellor; an allusion to Angela Merkel, who still thinks it right to have prevented Ukraine from joining NATO earlier.
The chairwoman of the Bundestag Defense Committee now answers the question of who is responsible for the hesitant German arms delivery to Ukraine precisely: “People in the ministries who hoped that Germany should not expose itself in this way”, a “partially traumatised SPD,” and a chancellor she believes has “no connection to the army.” At least that’s what Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann from the FDP says in “Münchner Merkur”.
Selenskyj now announces the reconquest of the Crimean Peninsula, which the Russians had Russified in violation of international law, as a war goal. Ukraine’s President should not expect any support from Scholz for this either. Scholz calls out to Selenskyj that the German chancellor must make a decision – “a balancing act must not be attempted between Ukraine and relations with Russia”. Choosing the “less painful path” for Germany is, according to Selenskyj, a “wrong approach”.
Scholz should see things differently. The chancellor interprets the constitutional oath he swore as follows: For him, the priority is for Germany to get through this war in Ukraine reasonably unscathed. What is the price of this? In the crystal-clear words of war analyst Claudia Major from the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik: “I don’t want to live in a Europe where a military war of annihilation is worthwhile.”