Facebook Pixel

Why Scholz needs to talk with Biden and how Lavrov’s presence was used at the G20 meeting in Delhi

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in the U.S. to talk with President Joe Biden about the war in Ukraine, and Russia accused the West of blackmail, while Antony Blinken spoke with Sergey Lavrov for the first time since June 2022.

How was the G20 meeting in Delhi going in the presence of the Russian foreign minister, how is the U.S. training the Ukrainian military, and how does Berlin want to replace the Leopard 2 tanks it sent to Ukraine? The Page briefs you of the details in a digest of Western mass media at the end of the February 27 — March 3, 2023, business week.


Scholz’s visit to the U.S.: Berlin and Washington will discuss Ukraine

Scholz arrived in the U.S. What will he discuss with Biden? Photo: Getty Images

Scholz arrived in the U.S. What will he discuss with Biden? Photo: Getty Images

According to the New York Times German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in Washington for a two-day visit to meet U.S. President Joe Biden.

The two leaders will discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Western support for Kyiv. The quiet nature of the visit sparked speculation about Scholz’s true purpose.

Thus, some experts suppose that Biden and Scholz will try to find a new road map for ending the conflict in Ukraine.

Quote"I think we are at a difficult moment, because the question about the end game is becoming louder, bigger, and more important in the U.S., but also in Europe," said Ulrich Speck, a German foreign policy analyst. "So I think it is one year on and looking back, it’s also looking forward, and to the question: How will this end?"

Nils Schmid, the foreign policy spokesman in Parliament for Mr. Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats, dismissed the notion that talks would focus on an "end game."

Quote"It’s really sitting together, putting all the cards on the table, weighing the options, sharing assessments and having a very free debate without being obliged to produce any immediate result on any of the files."

Before setting off for Washington, Scholz gave a measured statement reaffirming support for Ukraine:

Quote"The majority of citizens want our country to continue to stand by Ukraine," he said. "And to do so as we have since the beginning of the war: decisively, in a balanced way, closely coordinated with our friends and partners."
Biden is waiting for Scholz to discuss Ukraine. Photo: Getty Images

Biden is waiting for Scholz to discuss Ukraine. Photo: Getty Images

Experts also believe that the nature of the relationship between Berlin and Washington may need to change. Sudha David-Wilp, the director of the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund, notes that the United States also wants to encourage Germany to act in coordination with its European allies.

Russia talked with China and accused the West of blackmail

Russia accused the West of blackmailing and threats and claimed it had China’s support for its position at a stormy meeting of G20 foreign ministers in India, dominated by the war in Ukraine, The Guardian reports.

The event broke up with no joint communique, only a summary of the meeting prepared by the host, India, this year’s chair of the group.

Antony Blinken had a 10-minute talk with Sergey Lavrov. Photo: Getty Images

Antony Blinken had a 10-minute talk with Sergey Lavrov. Photo: Getty Images

On the sidelines of the meeting, in Delhi, the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, spoke briefly to Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, to tell him the U.S. would not back down in its support for Ukraine.

Sergei Lavrov was told that the U.S. won’t back down in its support for Ukraine. Photo: Getty Images

Sergei Lavrov was told that the U.S. won’t back down in its support for Ukraine. Photo: Getty Images

Neither side described the 10-minute encounter, the first direct meeting between the two officials since June 2022, as talks. Blinken also urged Moscow to reconsider its decision to suspend participation in the START Treaty and to release Paul Whelan, an American convicted in Russia for espionage.

After a meeting between Lavrov and the Chinese delegation, the Russian foreign ministry released a statement that said:

Quote"A unanimous rejection was expressed of attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, to impose unilateral approaches through blackmail and threats, and to oppose the democratization of international relations."

Lavrov, according to Russian media accounts, claimed the west was turning the work on the G20 agenda into a "farce" and said western delegations wanted to shift responsibility for their economic failures on to Moscow. He accused them of seeking to bury the Black Sea grain initiative.

At the G20 meeting, Blinken emphasized the need to further call on Russia to end its war and urged China to give up the idea of supplying arms to Russia:

Quote"It cannot publicly present itself as a force for peace while, in one way or another, it continues to fan the flames of the fire that Vladimir Putin lit."
Olaf Scholz urged China not to sell weapons to Russia. Photo: Getty Images

Olaf Scholz urged China not to sell weapons to Russia. Photo: Getty Images

The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, also asked China not to sell weapons to Russia, telling the German parliament:

Quote"My message to Beijing is clear: use your influence in Moscow to urge the withdrawal of Russian troops. And don’t deliver any weapons to the aggressor, Russia."

Efforts by India to steer the issue of Ukraine off the agenda largely failed, as western politicians used Lavrov’s presence at the conference to demand Russia bring the war to an immediate end.

The United States are training Ukrainian military in Germany: A difficult fight is ahead

The United States is hosting war planning exercises in Germany for Ukrainian military officers to help them think through upcoming battlefield decisions, Reuters reports.

The multi-day, table top exercises in the form of war games have been carried out at a U.S. Army base in Wiesbaden, Germany, where the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Mark Milley, visited on Thursday.

Mark Milley: Ukraine is facing a long fight. Фото: Getty Images

Mark Milley: Ukraine is facing a long fight. Фото: Getty Images

U.S. officials declined to talk through the potential battlefield scenarios that Ukrainian military staff were examining during the drills.

Quote"No one is sitting there telling the Ukrainians, go left or go right or do this or do that. That is not the job of the international community. All we're doing is setting up the framework and the mechanics to allow the Ukrainians to self-learn, to learn against a situation, or various scenarios," said Milley.

General Darryl Williams, the U.S. Army commander in Europe, praised the dozens of Ukrainian military staff who attended the drills, saying they were "really, really good".

Darryl Williams: Ukrainian military members were really good. Photo: Wikipedia

Darryl Williams: Ukrainian military members were really good. Photo: Wikipedia

Milley expressed optimism in Ukraine's military even as he acknowledged a difficult fight ahead.

Germany wants to buy Switzerland’s Leopard tanks to replace those sent to Ukraine

German arms-maker Rheinmetall wants to buy some of Switzerland’s old Leopard 2 tanks to compensate for those sent to Ukraine, Lorenz Frischknecht, spokesperson for the Swiss Department of Defense, said, as cited by Politico.

Lorenz Frischknecht: Switzerland may sell Leopard tanks to Germany. Photo: linkedin.com/in/lorenzfrischknecht

Lorenz Frischknecht: Switzerland may sell Leopard tanks to Germany. Photo: linkedin.com/in/lorenzfrischknecht

He explained, however, that Switzerland, which currently stores 96 unused Leopard 2 tanks, would have to formally decommission the tanks first by a decision taken by the Swiss parliament.

Switzerland could then sell a part of the tanks, provided that the country keeps enough of them to meet its own defense needs.

German authorities assured the tanks would not be transferred to Ukraine, but would instead be sent to Germany "or a NATO or EU partner."

In January, Kyiv’s European allies pledged to send two battalions of Leopard 2 tanks — or about 80 vehicles — to Ukraine, including 14 from Germany. The German government has also approved the sale of 88 old Leopard 1 tanks.

Switzerland has refused to provide military assistance to Ukraine — notably by blocking exports of Swiss-made weapons and ammunition — arguing it violated the country’s policy of neutrality.

But selling decommissioned tanks to a country not at war like Germany would not breach Switzerland’s commitment to neutrality, which it has been keeping since 1815.

Join us on social networks!
Thank 🎉