Zelensky ready to receive Olaf Scholz, need for heavy German weapons

(Frankfurt) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky still insistently wishes the arrival in Kyiv of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, from whom he expects rapid deliveries of heavy weapons, one of his advisers said on Wednesday.

Posted at 7:25 a.m.

“Our president is waiting for the chancellor to take practical decisions immediately, including the delivery of weapons,” Oleksiy Arestovitch, adviser to President Zelensky, told German public broadcaster ZDF.

In particular, the fate of Mariupol and the population in the east of the country “depends on the German weapons that we can get”, but which do not come, Arestovitch said.

This urgent and renewed invitation comes against a backdrop of tensions between Germany and Ukraine, after President Zelensky’s refusal on Tuesday to receive German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier who wanted to go to Kyiv with delegations from Poland and the Baltic countries. .

A “useless affront” according to der Spiegelwhich caused surprise and irritation in Germany, not only in the camp of the social democrats, party of Mr. Steinmeier.

The German head of state, whose role is largely ceremonial, is criticized for his diplomacy of rapprochement with Russia when he was Angela Merkel’s foreign minister. However, he recently made his mea culpa, acknowledging that he had made “mistakes” at the time.

Ukraine considers Germany generally too timorous in its support. The adviser however noted the progress of Berlin which had “started with the refusal” to arrive at “the discussion of the supply of heavy weapons. »

“Trained in War”

The country already delivers defensive weapons to Ukraine, but Olaf Scholz has been under pressure for several days, even within his majority, to give the green light to the sending of offensive equipment, in particular armored vehicles.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Economy, environmental heavyweights in the government, have called on the Chancellor to decide in favor of these deliveries, while the Social Democratic Minister of Defense repeats over and over again that the reserves of the Bundeswehr are exhausted.

“There is only one who must show the way: it is Chancellor Olaf Scholz”, declared Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, head of the defense committee at the Bundestag and member of the Liberals, allies of Mr. Scholz in government. She again called on the discreet Chancellor to behave “in chief” in a daily interview The world.

But the delivery of heavy military equipment still encounters resistance within the SPD. MP Joe Weingarten pointed out the danger of being “gradually drawn into war”.

“Is it realistic to defeat Russia in Ukraine with German tanks? “, he wonders in the daily The world. Others believe that such a decision could be taken only in the event of a new Russian escalation, in particular the possible use of chemical weapons.

Ukraine sees things differently. Time is running out, because “for every minute a tank does not come, it is our children who die, who are raped, who are killed”, asserted Mr. Arestovitch.

The German authorities “saw the terrible images” of the conflict, which he said recall the destruction of Berlin in 1945: what the Russian army is doing in Ukraine “is no different”.

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