According to Scholz, Russia has not achieved any of the goals announced at the beginning of the military operation in Ukraine. The Ukrainian territory was not conquered, the Russian armed forces suffered significant losses, the chancellor argues, and “NATO not only did not retreat, but even increased its forces on the eastern flank.”
“And the alliance will become even stronger if Finland and Sweden join NATO,” the politician added.
At the same time, the chancellor questioned the rationality of the Russian leader’s actions. He also recalled the threat of a global food crisis that provoked conflict in Ukraine. “Many countries suffer from this, since Ukraine is one of the main suppliers of grain. This is about real hunger, not about whether there is enough sunflower oil on supermarket shelves, like we have“, Scholz said.
The German chancellor stressed that Russia cannot dictate the terms of the peace agreement. “Gradually, it should become clear to Putin that the only way out of this situation lies in mutual understanding with Ukraine,” the German leader said.
Scholz also answered a journalist’s question whether this means that Russia should return Crimea to Ukraine, as Kyiv demands. “I demand that Putin withdraw his troops again. <…> We cannot negotiate for you, either one way or the other,” the Chancellor said.
Scholz promised to continue to provide military assistance to Ukraine in addition to the imposed sanctions. According to him, the Russian economy has been hit hard by the sanctions, and its development opportunities have been severely undermined.
“Together with our allies, we want to force Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. That is why we have imposed extensive sanctions. <…> But we will not make a decision that could lead to a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia,” Scholz assured.
What did Scholz and Putin talk about?
The first telephone conversation in recent weeks between Olaf Scholz and Vladimir Putin took place on 13 May. how specified on the Kremlin website, the negotiations took place at the initiative of Germany. After the conversation, Scholz briefly stated his position on Twitter.
“Three things from my long phone conversation with Putin today: there should be a truce in Ukraine as soon as possible. The claim that the Nazis rule there is false. And I pointed out to him the responsibility of Russia for the global food situation,” wrote the Chancellor.
In turn, Vladimir Putin, according to the Kremlin report, said that negotiations between Russia and Ukraine were “essentially blocked by Kyiv.” The Russian president also noted “the ongoing gross violations of the norms of international humanitarian law by militants professing Nazi ideology” and spoke about measures to ensure the safety of civilians and evacuation from Azovstal.
Putin and Scholz agreed to continue the “discussion on the issues mentioned” through various channels.
Subscribe to RTVI telegram channel
On this topic: