WASHINGTON — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives at the White House Friday for what US officials described as “a working visit” with President Joe Biden to discuss ongoing support for Ukraine and other issues.
The hour-long visit will be Scholz’s third visit to the White House since taking office in 2021, but the first since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago. The trip follows the joint announcement in January that the US and Germany would send armored tanks to Ukraine as the country prepares for a new Russian offensive.
The two leaders are expected to discuss efforts to impose charges on Russia for its aggression against Ukraine and strengthen transatlantic unity. They will also evaluate continued cooperation on a range of regional and global security issues, including China’s challenges and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
However, most of the meeting will be devoted to Ukraine.
“They’re going to talk about the kinds of capabilities Ukraine will need in the coming weeks and months,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday.
The U.S. is expected to announce another round of aid to Ukraine on Friday, mainly ammunition and ammunition that the Ukrainians will need for the defense systems they already have, Kirby said.
Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week on a surprise visit to Kiev, and Scholz met with the Ukrainian leader in Paris last month. Friday’s meeting will give them a chance to exchange notes and assess where the war stands.
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Germany pressured the US to send tanks to Ukraine
The US decision in January to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine came after the Biden administration changed course under pressure from Germany and other allies.
Ukraine had sought the tanks on the frontline battlefield, deeming it critical to stave off a spring offensive from Russia and to help Ukrainians reclaim parts of their land that had been lost during the invasion ordered by the Russian president Vladimir Putin were taken.
But Biden had resisted because of the advanced maintenance and training of the tanks and because military advisers questioned their usefulness on the battlefield in Ukraine. However, Germany refused to send its Leopard 2 A6 tanks to Ukraine unless the US agreed to supply the Abrams tanks.
In the end, Biden decided to give Ukraine 31 Abrams tanks, and Germany agreed to provide 14 of its Leopard 2s.
When asked by a reporter if Germany had persuaded the US to change its stance on the tanks, Biden said at the time, “Germany didn’t force me to change my mind. We wanted to make sure we were all together.”
Why the US and its allies are watching China
One topic likely to be on the agenda of Friday’s meeting is concern among the US and its NATO allies that China may be supplying lethal weapons to Russia in its war against Ukraine.
Kirby said the US doesn’t believe China has made a decision to send weapons to Russia, “but we don’t believe they’ve taken it off the table.”
The US has expressed concern to China, warning that sending arms to Russia “is not in their best interest,” Kirby said.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that the US had made it clear behind closed doors that such a move would have dire consequences and would come “at a real cost” to China. He did not elaborate on what those costs might be.
Why Europe is concerned about climate change subsidies
Another issue likely to come up during Biden’s meeting with Scholz is European concerns about new tax credits available to Americans who buy electric vehicles and other green technologies. The grants are available under the Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping health care, tax and climate change bill passed last year.
Europeans are concerned that the credits, many of which only apply to content created in North America, will put European manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage.
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Contributors: Tom Vanden Brook
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ukraine, China on agenda for Biden meeting with German Chancellor