“The Russian president has made several miscalculations”
Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz took questions from members of the Bundestag on Wednesday. In his opening statement, he said he was shocked by the images from Bucha. “Russian soldiers committed a civilian massacre there before withdrawing,” said the Federal Chancellor. “The murder of civilians is a war crime,” he stressed, adding that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.
Germany would continue to provide humanitarian and military support to Ukraine in coordination with its allies, said Scholz. “This government has decided to supply arms,” said the Federal Chancellor. But the NATO partners would not become a party to the war, Scholz reiterated. In addition to the two billion euros in humanitarian support already provided, he said, the Federal Government had made another half a billion euros available to Ukraine and its neighbouring countries.
The Russian President had miscalculated on several counts – not just in terms of the resistance being put up by the Ukrainians, but also with regard to the demonstration of unity by the European Union, the Federal Chancellor emphasised. “We must now tap into this unity to achieve great progress in Europe and create a much broader momentum,” said Scholz.
Ukrainian refugees are welcome
Scholz said that further key decisions on how to better support the hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine would be made in consultation with the Länder as early as Thursday.
He praised the solidarity shown by citizens everywhere in Germany. “I am very grateful for this help. It’s important and very valuable,” said the Federal Chancellor.
Fifth package of sanctions against Russia underway
A fifth European package of sanctions against Russia was underway, said Scholz, adding: “We must remain steadfast in our aim to prevent Russia from winning this war.” Germany would continue to work to reduce its dependence on Russian energy, he said, adding that the necessary preliminary measures had been taken in Europe to enable this to happen.
Independence from fossil resources
Germany would continue to pursue its path of finding new energy partners and seeking to become independent of fossil resources, said Scholz. First of all, he said, the Federal Government would build up liquefied natural gas capacities on the North German coast, expand the power grids and organise import structures for coal, oil and gas with “unprecedented speed” in order to become independent of Russian supplies. The Federal Cabinet has adopted a package for the expansion of renewable energies for this purpose.
This was the second time the Federal Chancellor answered questions from members of the Bundestag. Further question-time sessions are planned before the summer break and before Christmas. As a rule, Government question time starts with a report on a topical issue. Afterwards, members of the Bundestag have 60 minutes to ask questions of their own.