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UKRAINE

Scholz says Russia nuclear threat ‘reduced by international pressure’

The risk of nuclear weapons being used in the Ukraine conflict has lessened thanks to international pressure on Russia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview published Thursday.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) arrives at the West Balkans Summit in June. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler

“One thing has changed for the time being: Russia has stopped threatening to use nuclear weapons. In response to the international community marking a red line,” Scholz said in the interview with Germany’s Funke media group.

Asked whether the threat of a nuclear escalation had been averted, Scholz replied: “For the time being, we have put a stop to it.”

The German leader lauded his recent visit to China as having contributed to the development.

“During my visit to Beijing, Chinese President Xi (Jinping) and I jointly expressed that nuclear weapons must not be used. Shortly afterwards, the G20 countries reaffirmed this position,” he said.

READ ALSO: Scholz urges Putin to withdraw troops for ‘diplomatic’ end to war

Scholz was also asked about controversial comments by French President Emmanuel Macron that it would be necessary to provide “guarantees for its own security to Russia, the day it returns to the table” of negotiations.

“The priority now is for Russia to end the war immediately and withdraw its troops,” he said.

“It is true that the question is then how we can achieve security for Europe. Of course we are ready to talk with Russia about arms control in Europe. We offered this before the war, and this position has not changed.”

Putin’s own menacing language, and the military stalemate, have raised fears Russia could resort to its nuclear arsenal to achieve a military breakthrough.

But speaking at a meeting of his human rights council on Wednesday, Putin suggested that Moscow would only use nuclear weapons in response to such an attack.

“When we are struck, we strike back,” he said, stressing that his country’s strategy was based on “so called retaliatory strike” policy.

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UKRAINE

Germany’s Scholz says ‘consensus’ with Zelensky that Western arms do not hit Russia

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky agrees that weapons supplied by the West will not be used to attack Russian territory, Germany's leader said in an interview Sunday.

Germany's Scholz says 'consensus' with Zelensky that Western arms do not hit Russia

“There is a consensus on this point,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview with the weekly Bild am Sonntag.

Ukraine’s Western allies have pledged to arm it with precision rockets and missile systems, as well as tanks, as it tries to push back Russian troops in its east.

READ ALSO: Germany authorises manufacturers to send Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared the intervention of countries such as Germany with his nation’s struggle during World War II.

“Again and again we are forced to repel the aggression of the collective West,” he said Thursday on the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad.

But Scholz rejected the comparison.

“His words are part of a series of absurd historical comparisons that he uses to justify his attack on Ukraine”, he said.

“But nothing justifies this war.

“Together with our allies, we are supplying battle tanks to Ukraine so that it can defend itself. We have carefully weighed each delivery of weapons, in close coordination with our allies, starting with America.”

He said that such a consensus-based approach “avoids an escalation”.

READ ALSO: Germany won’t send fighter jets to Ukraine, says Scholz

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