Berlin will not provide Kiev with arms that could be used to attack Russia, the chancellor says
Germany will stick to its policy of withholding military supplies to Ukraine that could be used to strike Russian territory, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday evening.
The German leader noted that the policy echoes that of US President Joe Biden. “I believe this is the principle that we adhere to along with the others,” Scholz said, during a public event in the city of Magdeburg.
Berlin’s goal in sending weapons is to “support Ukraine” and “prevent an escalation of the war into something that would be very different,” the chancellor explained. He gave assurances that his government has enough “prudence, clarity and resolve” to stay on course.
This week, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, one of the most vocal supporters of sending arms to Ukraine, acknowledged that Berlin had overstretched its capacity for the task. This has led to an “absolute deficit in our own stocks,” she said in an interview with ZDF television.
The US stance on not giving Ukraine the tools to attack Russia is complicated by the fact that Moscow and Washington disagree on what constitutes Russian territory. American officials have said Kiev had every right to hit targets in Crimea, the former Ukrainian region which broke away after the 2014 armed coup in Kiev and voted to become part of Russia. Kiev considers it an illegal annexation and rejects the change of status, as does Washington.
Ukrainian officials have repeatedly stated that they want to destroy the bridge that Russia built to connect Crimea with its mainland after Kiev imposed a land blockade of the peninsula. The bridge will be attacked once Ukraine has weapons that can strike it, unless Russia fully withdraws from Crimea, they warned.