Scholz vows to protect Germans after Ukraine weapons u-turn

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised the citizens that he would do everything in his power to ensure that Germany is not drawn into Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Scholz said in his address to the parliament on Thursday.

His comments came days after he authorised Kiev to deploy German weapons on Russian territory, a decision long resisted by Berlin over fears it could draw Germany into the war.

“We have closely coordinated our response with our allies. Just as we always do’’, Scholz told lawmakers in the Bundestag, or lower house of parliament, following his government’s change of course.

After long-held concerns about escalating the conflict with Russia and drawing Germany into the war, Scholz altered his policy on Ukraine last week to allow the government in Kiev.

It is for the government to use German weapons to attack military targets on Russian territory, in particular to defend its second city of Kharkiv, near the Russian border.

Several other countries, including the U.S., have recently made similar moves to give Ukraine more room for manoeuvre in its use of Western-supplied weapons.

It is after the previously specifying that they should only be used against targets within Ukraine itself.

In Germany, the opposition subsequently called on Scholz to explain the sudden reversal.

In the Bundestag, Scholz said that Russia had opened a new front against Kharkiv, home to millions and close to the Russian border.

Together with its partners, Germany had reaffirmed Ukraine’s right under international law to defend itself against attacks on its territory, cities and citizens, he said.

That is why “Ukraine can also use the weapons supplied by us and our allies always in accordance with international legal obligations,’’ he said.

As chancellor, Scholz said he is responsible for ensuring “that no child born in Germany today will ever have to experience war in our country. That is my absolute priority.’’

He said he wanted to reassure citizens who are fearful that the war could escalate and jeopardise German security and peace.

“There is nothing naive or disreputable in worrying about peace, as is sometimes portrayed,’’ he added, referring to fierce debates over how much Berlin should support Ukraine.

Earlier, on Thursday, Scholz added that it was right for Germany to consult closely with its partners and allies “again and again and again’’ before making such far-reaching decisions.

He promised Germans that they could rely on the fact that “we will act prudently. That we carefully weigh up all the risks.’’

He underlined, “I stand by this as chancellor, committed to peace and Germany’s security.’’

Before Scholz’s address, left-wing politician Christian Görke said he would have preferred Scholz’s statement to come last week, “instead of announcing lonely decisions to expand the war in Ukraine.’’

The chancellor also addressed the recent knife attack carried out by an Afghan national during an anti-Islam gathering in Mannheim.

It killed a policeman and has sparked a debate about security and the threat of extremist violence.

Meanwhile, calls have since been growing for the government to again allow deportations to Afghanistan and Syria, a move that Scholz told the Bundestag he supported.