Davos, Switzerland, Jan 18 (EFE).- German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to supporting Ukraine militarily for as long as necessary and included the option of Patriot defense systems that Kiev has been demanding.
Berlin is “continuously supplying Ukraine with large quantities of arms in close consultation with our partners,” Scholz said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, adding that that support could include “air defense systems like IRIS-T or Patriot artillery,” which marks a “profound turning point in German foreign and security policy.”
Germany is under pressure from several of its allies to provide Kyiv with Leopard tanks, after having already supplied Gepard armored vehicles and committed to shipping Marder tanks, while on Monday it began transfering three Patriot batteries to neighboring Poland.
In his speech, Scholz highlighted that Germany contributed 12 billion euros in aid to Ukraine last year, and insisted that his country would be committed to Ukraine’s defense against Russia for “as long as necessary”.
The chancellor said Russia’s invasion was “having an impact on all of us” and has forced the world to adapt to “new geopolitical realities” that could lead to a “new fragmentation of the world of de-globalization and decoupling.”
“Russia has already failed completely in reaching its imperialist goals,” he continued, adding that “within a few months” Germany “made itself completely independent from Russian gas, Russian oil and Russian coal” thanks to “new partnerships in Asia, Africa and America.”
Scholz’s speech in Davos comes ahead of Friday’s Nato ministerial meeting at the US base in Ramstein, Germany, an issue he discussed with US president Joe Biden on Tuesday night. US defense secretary Lloyd Austin is due in Berlin for a meeting on Thursday.
The meeting in Ramstein will be attended by Germany’s new defense minister, Boris Pistorius, who will be sworn in Thursday to take over from Christine Lambrecht, who resigned this week amid accusations of mismanagement with regard to German support for Ukraine.
Defense is a key ministry for Scholz, who a few days after the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, presented a €100 billion investment package to modernize the army after decades of budget cuts.
At the same time he announced the start of arms supplies to Ukraine, ending a policy maintained by successive German federal governments of not sending armaments to conflict zones. EFE