18 January, 03:38 PM
Germany says policy of restricting weapons exports to Ukraine is ‘rooted in history’
His comments were echoed by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who on the same day visited Kyiv as part of a diplomatic effort to reduce tensions caused by a Russian military buildup on the Ukrainian border.
“The restrictive position of the German government regarding weapons exports is well-known, and is rooted in our history,” the foreign minister said, echoing Scholz.
Germany is one of the world’s top five weapons exporters, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It has sold arms to authoritarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates as recently as 2018-2020.
The German chancellor did express “deep concern” with the massive Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border. He said that any potential invasion should have a political and economic impact.
In 2020, Russia was Germany’s 14th largest trading partner, accounting for approximately EUR 44.5 billion of its total trade volume, according to the Federal Statistics Office of Germany. Ukraine was 43rd with EUR 7.1 billion.
Scholz also added that, together with his French counterpart, French President Emmanuel Macron, he would actively engage in renewing efforts under the Normandy format diplomatic track.
On Jan. 4, UK newspaper The Guardian and U.S. news channel CNN both reported that Russia had deployed saboteurs in Ukraine to carry out a false flag operation as a pretext for an invasion. The information was later confirmed by the Pentagon and the White House.
On Jan. 15, Ukraine’s military intelligence reported a chemical leak staged by Russian proxy forces at a Stirol-owned plant in Russia-occupied Horlivka, warning that this could be used as a false flag for invasion.
Currently, over 100,000 Russian troops are estimated to be deployed on the Russian-Ukrainian border and in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories, reports Ukrainian intelligence.
While Russia has denied plans to invade, it has also refused to provide assurances that it would not do so, instead issuing so-called “security guarantees” to the United States and NATO.
The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both the United States and European Union officials. According to U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House is looking at a range of options to dissuade Russia from a potential attack on Ukraine.
Biden has defined these measures as “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people believe he may do.”