SHARE
COPY LINK

POLITICS

Germany’s Scholz supports Ukraine amid Russian invasion fears

Olaf Scholz firmly backed Ukraine by underlining the "inviolability of borders" in his first New Year's speech as German chancellor on Friday, amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz poses for photographs during the recording of his New Year's speech at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz poses for photographs during the recording of his New Year's speech at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany on December 30th, 2021. Kay Nietfeld / POOL / AFP

The clear warning to Russia marks a rare message for a New Year’s speech typically dedicated to domestic issues.

“With a view on Ukraine, there are currently new challenges here. The inviolability of borders is a valuable asset — and non-negotiable,” Scholz said.

Tensions have risen sharply in recent weeks over former Soviet territory Ukraine, with some 100,000 Russian troops massed near the border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin seized the Crimean peninsula from Kiev in 2014 and is accused of fomenting a pro-Russian separatist war that erupted that year in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow describes the menacing troop presence as protection against an encroaching West, particularly NATO, although Ukraine has not been offered membership in the military alliance.

A telephone call between US President Joe Biden and Putin is planned for early January, with the aim of seeking diplomatic solutions to the soaring tensions over Ukraine.

READ ALSO: Berlin and Moscow to meet over Ukraine in January

In his speech, Scholz described transatlantic cooperation as “indispensable” for European security.

But he also called for greater international cooperation and for a “sovereign and strong Europe” capable of standing up for itself.

With Germany taking over the presidency of the G7 from January 1st, Scholz said he will strive to make the group of wealthy nations “a pioneer for climate-neutral economies and a just world”.

READ ALSO: Russian gas must not be ‘weapon’ against Ukraine: German Chancellor Merkel

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

GERHARD SCRHÖDER

German ex-Chancellor Schröder leaves Rosneft board

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder will leave the board of directors of Russian oil giant Rosneft, the company said on Friday, following public pressure.

German ex-Chancellor Schröder leaves Rosneft board

Rosneft said that Schröder and Nord Stream 2 CEO Matthias Warnig informed the company that it was “impossible to extend their powers on the board of directors” a day after Germany stripped Schröder of official perks over ties with Russia.

Rosneft praised their “strategic vision” and “significant contribution to the international business of the company”.

“Their role in the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects in Russia and Germany, aimed at increasing the efficiency of the Germany economy and its industry and the well-being of its citizens, is invaluable,” Rosneft added.

READ ALSO: Germany strips Schröder of official perks over links to Russia

Schröder, who was Germany’s leader from 1998 to 2005, had been slammed for refusing to quit his posts with Russian energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom following Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The German Bundestag’s decision to strip Schröder of an office and paid staff on Thursday came after a long effort to get him to turn his back on President Vladimir Putin. 

“The coalition parliamentary groups have drawn consequences from the behaviour of former chancellor and lobbyist Gerhard Schröder in view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the parliament decided.

“The office of the former chancellor shall be suspended,” it said, noting that Schröder “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.

The cost of Schröder’s office and employees was estimated to cost taxpayers around €400,000 per year. 

EU lawmakers separately called in a non-binding resolution on the bloc to slap sanctions on Schröder and other Europeans who refuse to give up lucrative board seats at Russian companies.

Schröder, 78, is due to join the supervisory board of gas giant Gazprom in June.

SHOW COMMENTS