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Olaf Scholz pledges no peace talks without Ukrainian agreement

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Olaf Scholz pledges no peace talks without Ukrainian agreement
Olaf Scholz speaks to the German Bundestag on March 3, 2023, just over a year after his promised "sea change" in German foreign policy. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Thursday that Germany and its allies were in talks with Kyiv over future security guarantees in preparation for a sustainable peace for Ukraine.

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"We are speaking with Kyiv and other partners over future security guarantees for Ukraine," Scholz said in a speech to the German parliament. "Such security guarantees however come with the presumption that Ukraine
successfully defends itself in this war," he said, adding that Germany would continue to support Kyiv with weapons supplies.

Scholz's speech came just over a year after Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine, precipitating the chancellor to announce a "Zeitenwende" or "new era" in German defence and foreign policy.

Germany has upped investments in its own military, unwound its economic ties with Russia and broken its taboos over sending weapons into conflict zones.

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Scholz renewed calls for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine and said President Vladimir Putin was not ready for talks over a "just peace" and an end to the war.

"Nothing suggests" Putin would come to the negotiating table at the moment, Scholz said, reiterating that no talks with Russia would happen over the head of the Ukrainians. "Love of peace does not mean submission to a larger neighbor. If Ukraine stopped defending itself, it would not be peace, but the end of Ukraine."

Scholz also used the speech to warn China against arming Russia in its war against Ukraine, following US claims Beijing was considering such a move.

"My message to Beijing is clear: use your influence in Moscow to push for the withdrawal of Russian troops," Scholz said.

"And do not supply weapons to the aggressor Russia," he added.

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