HomeTop StoriesGermany's Scholz defends the decision not to send soldiers to Ukraine

Germany’s Scholz defends the decision not to send soldiers to Ukraine

Rome (dpa) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has defended his decision not to send soldiers to Ukraine in comments he made on Saturday during a congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES) in Rome.

“We will not send European soldiers to Ukraine. We do not want the war between Russia and NATO, and we will do everything we can to prevent it,” he said.

There was a realization among Western partners that NATO and none of its countries should become parties to the war, he added.

The key to restoring peace in Europe was the West’s continued support for Ukraine in its defense against the Russian war, Scholz continued.

At the same time, he called on the EU to invest more in its own security and defense, which means putting aside narrow self-interest.

His comments come after French President Emmanuel Macron said he would not rule out a deployment of Western ground troops to Ukraine.

Many other leaders, including Germany, distanced themselves from the idea and Scholz said that from the German perspective, no ground troops would be deployed.

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Despite differing positions on support for Ukraine, French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné previously said he saw no divide between France and Germany, in an interview ahead of the talks with his counterpart.

“There is no Franco-German conflict, we agree on 80 percent of the issues,” Séjourné said in an interview with Le Monde newspaper on Saturday.

“There is a will to talk to each other,” he said, adding that he had spoken to his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, whom he will meet in Paris on Tuesday.

Both France and Germany are key backers of Ukraine in its bid to repel the large-scale Russian invasion launched in 2022. Kiev is heavily dependent on Western allies in its fight and has repeatedly called for more and heavier weapons to fend off Moscow’s forces.

However, in addition to his opposition to sending ground troops, Scholz continues to categorically rule out the delivery of Taurus cruise missiles.

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France has already made SCALP missiles, which are similar, available to Kiev and says more will follow.

“I’ll be honest: everything we ruled out at one point, we did six months later because of the situation,” Séjourné said.

He noted that Germany and France supported Ukraine to varying degrees, for example in the area of ​​missiles. “This is not a drama, because we have the same goal: to support Ukraine.”

What is needed, however, is more coherence in the European approach, according to the French diplomat. “If you hear German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius say two weeks before the meeting that we will probably be at war with Russia for the next five years, then we think we have to draw the consequences,” he added, saying that Europe must discuss the problem.

Macron did not surprise the participants of the Ukrainian aid conference in Paris, according to Séjourné. “They knew very well what was on the agenda and that it was not about sending combatant ground troops.”

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It was about reversing the balance of power with Moscow, he said.

“It is necessary to have this debate among ourselves, even if there is still no consensus.” Essentially everyone had the same analysis of the situation and the same objectives: to ensure that Russia would not succeed in its war against Ukraine, he said.

He also referred to another comment from Scholz, who caused anger and confusion with a comment suggesting that Britain and France had soldiers in Ukraine to program the cruise missiles they supplied, which Germany could not do. London immediately denied that this was the case.

Séjourné also denied that there are French soldiers in Ukraine. “At the moment there is no military presence, only support in the form of equipment and weapons.”

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