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Scholz: West must sustain support for Ukraine, keep unity, boost NATO’s credible deterrence

In his WSJ op-ed, Germany’s Chancellor Scholz stresses the global peril of a Russian win in Ukraine, advocating for continued Western aid and a fortified NATO to counteract Russia’s threat to Ukraine’s independence and European security.
German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Photo: Bundeskanzler.de/Kugler)
German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Photo: Bundeskanzler.de/Kugler)

In his op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal on 7 February, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz argues that a Russian victory in Ukraine would spell disaster not only for Ukraine’s sovereignty but also for the stability and democratic values of Europe, emphasizing the critical need for sustained Western support, unity against Putin’s divisive strategies, and the bolstering of NATO’s defense capabilities to counter Russia’s aggression.

The article was published against the backdrop of US Congressional Republicans delaying military aid for Ukraine for months, alongside the EU’s recent success in overcoming Hungary’s veto to secure aid for Ukraine.

Scholz warned that a Russian victory would not only endanger Ukraine’s sovereignty but also pose a significant threat to the liberal world order and European stability.

“Russia’s brutal attempt to steal territory by force could serve as a blueprint for other authoritarian leaders around the globe. More countries would run the risk of falling prey to a nearby predator,” Scholz wrote.

Scholz highlighted the importance of Western support in enabling Ukraine to resist Russian forces. He pointed out the substantial contributions made by the European Union, the United States, and Germany, which have bolstered Ukraine’s defense capabilities. Germany’s support, in particular, has been notable, with over $30 billion worth of military equipment supplied, alongside welcoming over a million Ukrainian refugees, with “Germany’s military support is second only to America’s.”

“Our message is clear: We have to do our utmost to prevent Russia from winning. If we don’t, we might soon wake up in a world even more unstable, threatening and unpredictable than it was during the Cold War,” Scholz says.

Not directly mentioning the US Congress impasse in passing the Ukraine aid bill, the German chancellor said that despite the Western support, Ukraine could soon face serious shortages in arms and ammunition,” which, in fact, is already happening as as evidenced by the Ukrainian military’s reference to a “shell shortage” that has forced Ukraine to scale back some military operations.

“Some financial commitments have already run out, and others need to be extended. The long-term consequences and costs of failing to stop Mr. Putin’s aggression would dwarf any of the investments that we are making now,” Scholz warns.

What needs to be done?

The German Chancellor outlines four actions the West must take under the current circumstances.

  • “We must sustain our support” for Ukraine, Scholz says, reminding that the European Council decided to commit “an additional $54 billion in fiscal aid to Ukraine over the coming four years,” which must be complemented by additional military aid.

According to Scholz, Germany, like the US, is prepared to offer Kyiv long-term security support, enabling Ukraine to build a modern army and enhance our collective security by deterring Russian aggression. “That prospect increases the security of us all,” he believes,

  • The EU and the US must maintain unity to counter Putin’s efforts to divide the West and undermine support for Ukraine, as per Scholz.

The West schold convince its citizens that a Russian win “would make the world a far more dangerous place,” Scholz says.

  •  “We don’t see ourselves at war with Russia and don’t seek confrontation with Russia,” Sccholz believes.

The German Chancellor says the West schold resist attempts to drag NATO into Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

  • The collective deterrence and defense of NATO must be credible,” Scholz says.

The German measures to boost NATO security include: increased defense spending to 2% of GDP, launching the European Sky Shield Initiative, and deploying a combat brigade in Lithuania, according to Scholz.

“The sooner Mr. Putin understands that we are in this for the long haul, the sooner the war in Ukraine will end,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz believes.

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