‘He must choose!’ Zelensky shames Scholz in rare public rebuke of German inaction on Putin

Zelensky slams Germany for not doing enough for Ukraine

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The Ukrainian President told German reporters during an interview republished on US broadcaster CNN that Ukraine needed “certainty” from Mr Scholz that Germany would prove the support vital to Ukraine’s defence of its country. The CNN broadcast went on to say that though Mr Scholz appears to be using the “right words” when it comes to the conflict in Ukraine, critics have questioned whether his “strong talk” is a mask for “effectively doing nothing”. 

The broadcaster said: “This week President Zelensky issued a rare public rebuke of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, saying this to one German news outlet: 

“‘We need Chancellor Scholz to give us the certainty that they will support Ukraine. He and his Government must choose not to do a balancing act between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.’

“Because while it is true Scholz uses the right words, branding Putin a warmonger and terming the invasion ‘Zeitenwende’, meaning a turning point in the history of German foreign policy, a term not used lightly, some critics feel that it is different when it comes to Chancellor Scholz’s deeds. 

“As one German political commentator recently wrote: ‘The Chancellor, despite his strong talk at the beginning of the war, has chosen effectively to do nothing’.” 

During his first visit to Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, Chancellor Scholz said that the war must end and that the “unimaginable cruelty” of Putin’s forces in the devastated towns of Irpin and Bucha before served as a “warning” of more to come. 

Mr Scholz is visiting Kyiv with the French, Italian and Romanian leaders, where they are due to hold talks with Mr Zelensky.

Mr Scholz wrote on Twitter: “Irpin, like Bucha, has become a symbol of the unimaginable cruelty of the Russian war, of senseless violence,” 

“The brutal destruction of this city is a warning: this war must end.”

The leaders of Germany, France, and Italy – all criticised in the past by Kyiv for support viewed as too cautious – made a joint visit to Ukraine on Thursday, touring a town devastated by Russia’s invasion.

French President Emmanuel Macron said after pulling into Kyiv on an overnight train: “It’s an important moment. It’s a message of unity we’re sending to the Ukrainians.” 

Air raid sirens blared as the visit got underway. They toured the ruins of Irpin, a Kyiv suburb devastated by fighting early in the war, when Russian forces left bodies of civilians littering the streets as they withdrew.

Noting graffiti on a wall that read “Make Europe, not war”, Macron said: “It’s very moving to see that. This is the right message.”


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The visit took weeks to organise, while the three most powerful EU leaders all fended off criticism over positions described as too deferential to Putin. Britain’s Boris Johnson visited Kyiv more than two months ago.

Still, the decision by the three to travel together held strong symbolism at a pivotal moment – a day before the EU’s executive commission is expected to recommend pushing forward with Ukraine’s bid to join the bloc, which EU leaders are expected to endorse at a summit next week.

NATO defence ministers were also meeting in Brussels and were expected to announce more promises of additional weapons for Kyiv. 

In his nightly address, Mr Zelensky said yesterday: “Every day, I struggle for Ukraine to get the weapons and equipment it needs.”

Ukraine applied to join the EU just four days after Russia invaded in February, and another four days later Moldova and Georgia applied too.

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