Berlin is Putting Economy Before Ukraine, Zelensky Accuses

During his virtual address to the Bundestag on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told German lawmakers that their support came too late to stop the war with Russia, accusing at the same time Germany of putting its economic interests ahead of its response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Zelensky told German lawmakers that he can see Berlin’s willingness to continue to do business with Russia while Ukraine’s in the middle of the war,” referring to Germany’s business interests in Russia before the invasion.

He accused Berlin of still protecting itself behind a wall that prevents it from seeing what Ukrainians are going through, stressing that peace is more important than income.

Fearing it could hurt its economy which is heavily reliant on Russian petroleum products and imports in general, Germany was reluctant to raise harsh sanctions on Russia and it hasn’t banned so far Russian oil and gas although Chancellor Olaf Scholz did cancel the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline.

In response to Russia’s invasion, Germany also reversed its restrictive European arms export policy and has supplied Ukrainian forces with anti-tank and air-defense weapons, sending in late February 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Kyiv.

The government in Berlin was previously blocking other NATO allies from transferring German-origin weapons to Ukraine citing its historical responsibilities as the reason that prevented it from shipping arms to conflict zones.

However – with German economic sentiment indexes already dropping at record amounts – if economic sanctions on Russia threaten to contribute to the potential German recession, that could damage Berlin’s resolve to further support Ukrainian forces.

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