BERLIN – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday called on China to refrain from sending weapons to Russia and instead use its influence to press Moscow for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
“My message to Beijing is clear: use your influence in Moscow to press for the withdrawal of Russian troops, and do not supply weapons to the aggressor Russia,” Scholz said in a speech to German parliament.
The chancellor also vowed that Germany would continue to support Ukraine with humanitarian and military aid to help the country defend itself against Russia’s invasion.
Addressing those who are demanding that Ukraine start negotiating a truce with Russia to end the war, he said that “love of peace does not mean submission to a bigger neighbor. If Ukraine stopped defending itself, it would not be peace, but the end of Ukraine.”
“Our European peace order is defensible,” Scholz added. “Our ‘never again’ means that war of aggression will never return as a means of politics. Our ‘never again’ means that Putin’s imperialism will not prevail.”
“There is no negotiating with a gun at your temple, except for your own submission,” he said.
Scholz also said that Germany is working on meeting NATO's 2% defense spending target.
“This commitment, which I made here on Feb. 27 of last year, holds true,” Scholz said, adding that the government would increase increase the defense budget as a whole to achieve this goal.
Scholz's “turning point” speech, which came three days after Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, triggered weapons shipments to Ukraine and a major increase in Germany’s military spending.
Germany has become one of the leading arms suppliers to Ukraine since that speech. Lawmakers, including the main opposition bloc, gave strong backing in June to the 100 billion-euro ($106 billion) military procurement fund that the chancellor announced.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine