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Home World kyiv: Kyiv wants Scholz visit and arms, not president: Aide

kyiv: Kyiv wants Scholz visit and arms, not president: Aide

kyiv: Kyiv wants Scholz visit and arms, not president: Aide


BERLIN: A top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday said Kyiv wanted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to visit and pledge more arms deliveries, explaining a snub to Berlin’s head of state.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier admitted on Tuesday he had offered to visit Ukraine with other EU leaders, but Kyiv had told him he was not welcome right now.
The move against Steinmeier, a former foreign minister who recently apologised for a too conciliatory stance toward Moscow in the past, was widely seen as a diplomatic affront in Germany.
Ukrainian presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych told German public television on Wednesday it had not been Zelensky‘s intention to offend Berlin.
“I think the main argument was different — our president expects the chancellor so that he (Scholz) can take direct practical decisions, including weapons deliveries,” he told broadcaster ZDF.
The German president has a largely ceremonial role while the chancellor heads the government.
Arestovych said the fate of the strategic port city of Mariupol and the civilian population of eastern Ukraine “depends on the German weapons we could get”, but that have not been promised.
Time is of the essence because “every minute that a tank doesn’t arrive… it is our children who are dying, being raped, being killed”, Arestovych said.
The German political class “has seen the terrible images” of the war which he said recalled the destruction of Berlin in 1945. What the Russian army is doing in Ukraine “isn’t any different”.
Scholz is facing growing pressure at home to step up support for Ukraine in the face of the seven-week-old Russian invasion which has cost the lives of thousands of civilians.
The chancellor, like Steinmeier a Social Democrat, initially responded to the Russian onslaught by promising a dramatic about-face in German defence and foreign policy including a massive increase in military spending.
But he has thus far rejected calls to follow other EU leaders in visiting Kyiv and refused, primarily for historical reasons, to send heavy weapons to Ukraine.
Germany has until now sent defensive arms including anti-tank weapons, missile launchers and surface-to-air missiles in response to the conflict.
The stance has sharpened tensions within Scholz’s government, with ministers from the co-ruling Green party urging additional weapons deliveries.

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