After Russia invaded Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz ordered to send weapons to Ukraine, breaking his coalition government’s short-lived policy of not sending arms into a war zone.
Scholz’s arming of Ukraine has depleted the German military’s stockpiles, prompting him to announce a plan for German defense contractors to send weapons to Kyiv directly. Despite the effort, members of Scholz’s government are frustrated with him for not acting fast enough to get heavier weapons into Ukraine’s hands.
Germany has sent missiles and artillery into Ukraine, but Kyiv is seeking heavier artillery, tanks, and armored vehicles. Ukraine hasn’t been happy with Berlin’s actions since the war started and even went as far as rejecting a visit from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Scholz has also slowed a European Union plan to boycott Russian gas since Germany is extremely reliant on Russian energy. Members of Germany’s coalition government, which is comprised of Scholz’s Social Democrats, the Free Democratic Party, and the Greens, are speaking out against his actions, arguing that the war will drag on longer if Ukraine doesn’t get more weapons.
“The longer this war drags on, and the closer Putin gets to a victory, the greater the danger that further countries will be invaded and that we then end up sliding into an extended, de facto third world war,” said Anton Hofreiter, the head of European affairs in Germany’s parliament and a member of the Greens.
At this point, the US and most other NATO members have abandoned the idea of diplomacy with Russia as a potential avenue to end the war in Ukraine. Scholz is one of the very few Western leaders that has spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin since Russia invaded.
In March, Bloomberg reported that France and Germany favored negotiations with Russia while most other NATO members were against the idea. Scholz’s stance on diplomacy could be another reason why Ukraine is not happy with Berlin, and why the German chancellor is coming under domestic pressure.