German chancellor Scholz assures Ukraine that its future ‘lies in EU’

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Wednesday it was clear almost a year on from Russia's invasion of Ukraine that Moscow would not win and assured the war-torn country its future was in the EU.

German chancellor Scholz assures Ukraine that its future 'lies in EU'
Scholz addressing the Bundestag on Wednesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Wolfgang Kumm

“(President Vladimir) Putin will not achieve his goals — not on the battlefield and not through a dictated peace. That much, at least, is certain after a year of war,” Scholz said in a speech to parliament.

“Ukraine belongs to Europe, its future lies in the European Union. And this promise holds true,” Scholz said on the eve of a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.

The chancellor said Germany had provided €12 billion of aid to Ukraine in 2022 and would continue to offer support in 2023.

However, as President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Britain to an offer of training for Ukrainian fighter jet pilots and marines, Scholz said he would not engage in a “competition” to support Kyiv.

Scholz has repeatedly stressed that his country would not “go it alone” to provide weapons for Ukraine without the support of its allies, especially the US.

Germany last month agreed to provide powerful Leopard 2 battle tanks for Kyiv after weeks of intense pressure, but only as the US also agreed to send its Abrams tanks.

READ ALSO: What difference could Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks make it Ukraine?

“Cohesion within our alliances is our most valuable asset,” Scholz said.

“What harms our unity, on the other hand, is a public competition to outdo each other along the lines of battle tanks, submarines, aircraft,” he said.

“Because any dissonance, any speculation about possible differences of interest, only benefits Putin and his propaganda.”

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Ukraine asks Germany for air-to-surface missiles: defence ministry

Ukraine has asked Berlin to provide it with Taurus air-to-surface missiles that have a range of in excess of 500 kilometres, Germany's defence ministry told AFP on Saturday.

Ukraine asks Germany for air-to-surface missiles: defence ministry

“We have a received a request from the Ukrainian side in recent days,” a ministry spokesman said, without providing further details.

The request comes as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive in an effort to wrestle back territory seized by Russia since Moscow invaded its neighbour in February 2022, sparking the biggest conflict on European soil since World War II.

The missiles, produced by a Germany-Swedish joint venture Taurus Systems, would allow Ukraine to strike well inside Russia with their range of more than 500 kilometres (310 miles).

READ ALSO: Germany say US must decide on jets for Ukraine

The United States and other Western countries providing arms to Ukraine have up to now been cautious on giving Kyiv weapons that could reach inside nuclear-armed Russia, potentially widening the conflict.

Previously seen as reticent on supplying weapons, Germany has become the second-biggest contributor of military assistance to Ukraine after the United States.

READ ALSO: Germany unveils 2.7 bn euro weapons package for Ukraine

It is currently preparing its biggest-yet military aid package, including anti-missile systems, 30 additional Leopard 1 tanks, more than 100 armoured combat vehicles and more than 200 surveillance drones.

But it has so far been cautious on the issue of fighter jets and air-to-surface missiles.