During the Russia-Ukraine war, Scholz calls President Selenskyj again. Meanwhile, the chancellor was sharply criticized by CDU leader Merz. The news ticker.
- Germany in the Russia-Ukraine War: Talks between Berlin and Kyiv: Scholz calls President Selenskyj again.
- Criticism from CDU leader Friedrich Merz: He accuses federal government delaying tactics in weapons deliveries
- No trip to Kyiv? CDU leader Merz clearly criticizes the traffic light Chancellor.
- This News ticker on reactions from Germany to the Russia-Ukraine war is continuously updated.
Update from May 18, 11:20 a.m.: The former commander of the US Army in Europe, Ben Hodges, criticized Germany’s behavior in the Ukraine war in an interview with the weekly newspaper The time practiced. “Some Germans give the impression that they really just want to be something like a big Switzerland, so stay out of it,” said the former US general. “Today that is not enough for the most populous country in the center of Europe, the largest economic power in the EU.”
He respects the fear of a Russian nuclear attack and understands the special history of the country. “Only I don’t believe that pacifism is the way to a lasting peace,” said Hodges. “In my opinion, the Germans now have to rediscover who they are and who they want to be. They still have far too little confidence in themselves. The Second World War ended 77 years ago.”
Ben Hodges was commander in chief of US forces in Europe until 2017. The former lieutenant general gave a prognosis on the course of the war a few weeks ago, which didn’t turn out the way he thought it would.
Update from May 18, 9:28 am: CDU leader Friedrich Merz accuses the federal government of deliberately delaying arms deliveries to Ukraine. “There are obviously delay strategies in the federal government, at least one delay tactic,” said Merz on the program “RTL Direkt”. (see also update from May 17, 10:01 p.m). Merz pointed to public complaints from armaments companies that they were not granted export licenses for tanks.
Merz is also bothered by the rhetoric of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD): “Here you don’t play with open cards,” criticized Merz. “There can be reasons not to say everything, but then the chancellor should also express it.”
Merz recalled the cross-party decision in the Bundestag, which advocates the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine to help the country defend against Putin’s army. However, Scholz is talking less and less about this, criticized Merz. Instead, he constantly warns of a risk of escalation in the Ukraine war. “There is a risk of escalation if we don’t help Ukraine,” warned the CDU leader. Putin will continue his aggressive policy “if we don’t stop him”.
Scholz, in turn, recently teased CDU leader Merz on TV by saying, alluding to the opposition leader’s trip to Kyiv, that a visit to Ukraine should not be “just a photo opportunity”.
Update from May 18, 6:26 a.m.: After tensions in the relationship between Kyiv and Berlin, Selenskyj described his telephone call with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on Tuesday as “quite productive”. Among other things, military support for Ukraine was discussed, Zelenskyy said in his daily video address. He informed Scholz about the current military situation and its possible future development.
There were irritations in German-Ukrainian relations in mid-April. The Ukrainian side refused a visit to Kyiv by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who they accused of once pursuing a pro-Russian policy as SPD foreign minister. Scholz initially did not want to go to Kyiv. According to the governments, the tensions were resolved with clarifying talks in early May.
Germany and the Ukraine war: Merz criticizes the traffic light government for “delaying tactics”
Update from May 17, 10:01 p.m.: Is Chancellor Olaf Scholz not sticking to the agreements made in the Bundestag on the Ukraine war? At least that’s what Friedrich Merz claims. “There are obviously delaying strategies in the federal government, at least one delaying tactic,” said the CDU boss on Tuesday evening on RTL Direkt. According to Merz, the fact that companies publicly complained that no export license for tanks had been issued indicates that “the cards are not being played with open cards”.
According to Merz, there could be “reasons not to say everything. But then the Federal Chancellor should also express that.” “Too around about the issues” is “not appropriate for the matter”.
Update from May 17, 7:05 p.m.: According to Federal Minister of Transport Volker Wissing, transports by rail with the help of Deutsche Bahn have started to support grain exports from the Ukraine. The goods subsidiary DB Cargo is in the process of enabling a “rail bridge” to be able to transport large quantities of agricultural products to ports on the North Sea and the Adriatic Sea in the future, said the FDP politician on Tuesday in Berlin. The help has begun, DB Cargo is already driving on behalf of private grain exporters from Ukraine. Railway boss Richard Lutz spoke of two to three trains a day from the Ukraine via Poland and the corresponding terminals to Western Europe.
The background is that the export of grain via the seaports of Ukraine has come to a standstill because of the Russian war against the country. This threatens deliveries to North Africa and Asia in particular, and problems with the food supply are feared. As EU Transport Commissioner Adina Valean recently explained, 20 million tons of grain urgently need to leave Ukraine. The Commission had presented an action plan to bring out exports via so-called “solidarity lanes” overland.
Germany in the Russia-Ukraine war: CDU leader Merz clearly criticizes traffic light Chancellor Scholz
Update from May 17, 5:35 p.m.: Union faction leader Friedrich Merz (CDU) has criticized statements by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on a possible trip to Kyiv. He was “somewhat surprised” that Scholz said he “didn’t want to join a group of people” who only traveled briefly to Ukraine for a “photo shoot,” Merz quoted the Chancellor as saying on Tuesday. If he meant visitors like Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD) or Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens), it was “strange”.
“I don’t know who he meant by these ‘people’,” said Merz, who himself had traveled to Kyiv in early May and was also received there by President Volodymyr Zelenskyj. In any case, he hopes that Scholz “will set off at some point and visit Ukraine,” explained Merz. This would be an important sign of solidarity.
Germany in the Russia-Ukraine War: Chancellor Scholz promises Sweden and Finland assistance
Update from May 17, 3:35 p.m.: In view of a possible reaction by Russia to Finland’s and Sweden’s plans to join NATO, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) referred to existing assistance obligations. Germany is already obliged by the UN Charter and the EU treaty to “provide all the help and support in our power for mutual protection,” Scholz said on Tuesday in Berlin. In addition, military cooperation should now be strengthened “particularly in the Baltic Sea region and through joint exercises”.
In response to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Finland and Sweden have announced that they will apply for NATO membership. The defense alliance has given both countries the prospect of a rapid admission process. This is important because during the transition period, candidate countries are not protected by Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which governs the so-called alliance case.
Germany in the Russia-Ukraine War: Chancellor Scholz calls President Selenskyj again
Update from May 17, 3:15 p.m.: Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) phoned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj again this Tuesday. As announced by government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, the politicians exchanged views on the current military and humanitarian situation in Ukraine. According to the information, Scholz and Zelenskyj agreed “that a diplomatic negotiated solution between Ukraine and Russia” is necessary.
To do this, Russia must end its hostilities immediately and withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine. In addition, the Federal Chancellor and the Ukrainian President are said to have exchanged views on possibilities for further support and “agreed to remain in close contact”.
Germany in the Russia-Ukraine War: NATO exercise “Wettiner Heide” with 7,500 soldiers
First report from May 17th: Munich/Munster – In the shadow of the Russia-Ukraine war, a major NATO maneuver took place in the middle of Germany at the beginning of the week. A total of 7,500 soldiers from nine different NATO alliance partners with more than 2,000 vehicles were deployed during the “Wettiner Heide” military exercise.
They practiced together at the Munster and Bergen military training areas in the Lüneburg Heath in Lower Saxony. Among other things, it was about coordinating the various artillery formations. The largest contingents were provided by the German Bundeswehr and the Dutch and Norwegian armed forces.
Germany in the Russia-Ukraine war: NATO with large military maneuvers in Lower Saxony
Live ammunition was used on the kilometer-wide military training area – including the Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000). Germany will provide Ukraine with seven of these in the coming days to defend its own territory.
As the Bundeswehr confirms, the exercise has nothing to do with current global political events. Nevertheless, Alexander Krone, the commander of the leading NATO association, explained at an appointment with various media: “Actually, it always takes a bit until everyone from the mindset is in there. That is not the case at all now. Seriousness, professionalism, so this tingling, that could actually be something that is demanded of us, for which we are needed – of course that’s there immediately.”
Germany in the Russia-Ukraine War: Bundeswehr Panzer Brigade 2023 at the NATO spearhead
The background to the maneuver is also: In 2023, a German armored brigade will lead the so-called spearhead of NATO with a total of 12,000 soldiers. This large military combat force should be able to be relocated anywhere in the alliance area within three days, including heavy equipment, should an alliance partner be attacked by a third country.
Just last weekend, the transatlantic defense alliance launched a week-long maneuver in Estonia – just 40 miles from the nearest Russian military base.
Moscow had been informed in advance about the exercise. According to Frankfurter Rundschau With reference to NATO, around 15,000 soldiers from ten different countries are involved in the maneuvers not far from the border with Russia. The exercise is titled Hedgehog.
And in the Federal Republic, too, NATO was rehearsing an emergency. Follow all reactions from and in Germany to the Russia-Ukraine war here in the news ticker. (pm)
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