Scholz ‘completely fallen for Russian trap’ as Putin still ‘shaping’ German policy on Kyiv

Scholz 'completely fallen for Russian trap' says Gustav Gressel

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has come under scrutiny over his hesitancy to send weapons and artillery to Ukraine to help defend itself against Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Though he promised in early April to provide weapons in what was described as a major U-turn in Germany’s foreign policy, Olaf Scholz has failed to deliver on his promise to support war-torn Ukraine militarily. Military expert Gustav Gressel says that behind Mr Scholz’s unwillingness to act is Putin pulling the strings.

Judging Mr Scholz’s Ukraine policy, Mr Gressel told DW News: “He exercised excessive caution. And I mean some of the rationales of these calls are understandable to kind of see where the Russians are, what their interests are, what they would be willing to do or not to do.

“The problem is of course if you negotiate with the counterpart, especially with a former intelligence officer that they will of course not negotiate in good faith and they will not tell you the truth.

“They will also try to probe you, manipulate you, and tell you things that they expect that Putin expects to make Scholz do what he wants.

“And on this game, Putin is far more successful than Scholz. The whole issue of World War Three and the scare of Russian nukes, that’s psychological warfare.

“And Scholz has completely fallen for the Russian trap. And it is still something that Putin has sort of, is shaping Scholz’s mind when it comes to the risks and consequences of this war.”

Mr Gressel continued: “This is exactly why Eastern Europeans have called these calls to be dangerous.

“They have not criticised for example Angela Merkel’s calls to Putin in the same way because she comes from Eastern Germany, has much more experience reading former communist intelligence characters, which is part of the skill portfolio you need if you reach out to people like Putin.”

The German Chancellor paid a visit to Kyiv alongside French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi to express their support for Ukraine.

During the unannounced visit to the devastated city of neighbouring Irpin, he said the city was an example of “the brutality of the Russian war of aggression, which is simply out to destroy and conquer” and of an ongoing invasion being continued “without regard for human life.”

Next to his EU counterparts, he added: “My colleagues and I came here to Kyiv today with a clear message: Ukraine belongs to the European family.”

However, Mr Scholz fell short of addressing the elephant in the room which is the meagre military support sent by Germany. 

In early June, Mr Scholz faced again criticism for being too hesitant and slow in delivering weapons to Ukraine.

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He said Germany is sending military support to Ukraine “more intensively than almost anyone else.”

According to the Ukraine Support Tracker by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Germany is the fifth most generous country in terms of military support to Ukraine. The country comes behind the United States, the UK, and Poland.

The reason for the wave of criticisms levelled at Germany is the fact that Germany is the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter and the EU’s biggest economy.  

“We are supporting Ukraine with the deliveries of weapons. We will keep doing that for as long as it is needed,” he said at a news conference with Volodymyr Zelensky, despite the critics.

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