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Germany's Scholz in US pushes for unblocking Ukraine aid

February 9, 2024

During a visit to Washington, the German chancellor warned Ukraine would not be able to defend itself without US support. President Biden is pushing lawmakers to greenlight billions in delayed military aid.

Chancellor Scholz makes a statement at a microphone during his trip to Washington
Scholz wrote that a Russian victory in Ukraine would "deal a severe blow to the liberal world order"Image: Michael Kappeler/dpa/picture alliance

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz joined US President Joe Biden in Washington DC on Friday in urging US lawmakers to approve a military aid package for Ukraine that has been held up by Congressional gridlock.

Without the funding approval, the US has been unable to send missiles and ammunition to Ukraine, as Russian forces have shown signs of mounting a renewed push along the frontline.

The German chancellor used his time in Washington to reemphasize the consequences for European security if Russia succeeds in its "imperialistic" ambitions in Ukraine.

German Chancellor Scholz in Washington for talks with Biden

"Without the support of the United States and without the support of European states, Ukraine would have not a chance to defend its own country," Scholz said.

Scholz said he hoped US lawmakers would "make a decision on giving necessary support" and highlighted while highlighting Germany's readiness to "increase its support with weapons delivery" and the EU approving €54 billion ($58.2 billion) in non-military financial aid earlier this month.

Ahead of his US trip, Scholz wrote in The Wall Street Journal that a Russian victory in Ukraine would "dramatically change the face of Europe" and "deal a severe blow to the liberal world order."

Speaking in the Oval Office alongside Scholz, Biden called the failure of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to approve the long-delayed military aid package for Ukraine "close to criminal neglect."

Speaking to reporters before the meeting, Scholz said he was encouraged by the US Senate on Thursday agreeing to begin work on a package that would authorize $60 billion in military aid for Ukraine.

However, doubts remain whether hardline conservatives in the House of Representatives will pass the bill.

What is holding up funding?

The streamlined proposal comes after Republicans this week blocked an earlier $118 billion bipartisan border package negotiated by Republican leaders with the White House that combined funding for Ukraine and Israel.

For months, Republicans have tied Ukraine aid to their demands for even stricter border policies, which is a hot-button issue for the upcoming presidential election.

Conservatives have argued that the US cannot afford to keep funding Ukraine's war effort and that Europe should do more.

According to calculations from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the US remains the undisputed largest donor to Ukraine in terms of pure military aid, having provided the equivalent of close to $50 billion.

Germany, however, has climbed from third to second place. From the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 until the end of October 2023, Berlin has sent military aid worth more than €17 billion. 

Life endures in Kharkiv despite constant Russian fire

wmr/sms (AFP, Reuters)