Germany’s Scholz calls on Russia to end Ukraine ‘bloodshed’

Russia must immediately withdraw its troops and end the "bloodshed" in Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Tuesday, warning of further sanctions to punish Moscow's aggression.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gives a speech in the Bundestag on Sunday.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gives a speech in the Bundestag on Sunday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd von Jutrczenka

Russia should “immediately stop all hostilities, withdraw Russian troops to Russia and return to dialogue,” Scholz told reporters in Berlin. “The bloodshed must end.”

In the press conference with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Scholz said it was a “very, very dramatic time”.

“We agree that this (the invasion) turns everything on its head, both for Europe and the rest of the world,” said Scholz.

He said with partners, Germany had put sanctions in place against Russia.

“We will certainly add more to the packages (of sanctions) that we have decided so far,” he said, adding that “Ukraine is literally fighting for survival”.

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He said more sanctions were needed to prevent the war from continuing. “From my point of view, this is what we have to do,” Scholz said, referring to the question of what to do now. 

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that he had spoken with Scholz and called on Ukraine’s entry into the EU to be “accelerated”.

Scholz’ counterpart in Luxembourg Bettel praised the Chancellor’s diplomatic efforts.

“Putin’s war against Ukraine is a turning point,” said Bettel, adding that it is a war “against freedom, against the values we stand for”.

Bettel called on Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron to continue to seek dialogue with Putin. The goal must now be to achieve a ceasefire, he urged.

It must never be forgotten “that Ukrainians are dying every day, are being torn apart, are being wounded”, said the Luxembourg head of government.

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‘Russia must not win this war,’ says Germany’s Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged once again to stand with Ukraine against Russia - but said Ukraine's bid to join the EU cannot be sped up.

'Russia must not win this war,' says Germany's Scholz

Scholz said the war in Ukraine was the greatest crisis facing the EU in its history, but that solidarity was strong. 

“We are all united by one goal: Russia must not win this war, Ukraine must prevail,” Scholz said in the speech to the Bundestag on Thursday.

Putin thinks he can use bombs to dictate the terms for peace, the SPD politician said. 

“He’s wrong. He was wrong in judging the unity of Ukrainians, and the determination of our alliances. Russia will not dictate peace because the Ukrainians won’t accept it and we won’t accept it.”

Scholz said it was only when Putin understands that he cannot break Ukraine’s defence capability that he would “be prepared to seriously negotiate peace”.

For this, he said, it is important to strengthen Ukraine’s defences. 

Scholz also pledged to help cut Europe free from its reliance on Russian energy. 

The Chancellor welcomed the accession of Finland and Sweden to Nato. “With you at our side, Nato, Europe will become stronger and safer,” he said.

However, Scholz dampened expectations for Ukraine’s quick accession to the EU.

“There are no shortcuts on the way to the EU,” Scholz said, adding that an exception for Ukraine would be unfair to the Western Balkan countries also seeking membership.

“The accession process is not a matter of a few months or years,” he said.

Scholz had in April called for Western Balkan countries’ efforts to join the EU to be accelerated amid a “new era” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last October, EU leaders at a summit in Slovenia only reiterated their “commitment to the enlargement process” in a statement that disappointed the six candidates for EU membership — Albania, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Kosovo – who had hoped for a concrete timetable.

“For years, they have been undertaking intensive reforms and preparing for accession,” Scholz said on Thursday.

“It is not only a question of our credibility that we keep our promises to them. Today more than ever, their integration is also in our strategic interest,” he said.

The chancellor said he would be attending the EU summit at the end of May “with the clear message that the Western Balkans belong in the European Union”.

Scholz also called for other ways to help Ukraine in the short term, saying the priority was to “concentrate on supporting Ukraine quickly and pragmatically”.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has also said it will take “decades” for a candidate like Ukraine to join the EU, and suggested building a broader political club beyond the bloc that could also include Britain.