Before leaving the USA, Scholz calls for support for Ukraine

Amid growing concerns about the predictability of US policy toward Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) traveled to Washington for a visit. In his talks he wanted to promote more support for Ukraine, the Chancellor said on Thursday before his departure from Berlin. But the chances of this are dwindling: just a few hours before the Chancellor’s trip, the Republicans in the US Senate had failed to implement a $60 billion aid package for Ukraine.

Scholz called for Europe and the USA to work closely together to support Ukraine. The partners need to “reach a way for us all to do more together,” he said. The promises made so far are “not enough”. Germany alone cannot shoulder the brunt of aid to Ukraine.

In Washington, however, the Chancellor encounters a complex domestic political situation that is beyond the influence of the European allies. A legislative package drawn up in long negotiations between the two major US parties that would have secured continued support for Ukraine failed in the Senate due to resistance from Republicans – orchestrated by former President Donald Trump, who won the White House again in the US elections in November want to conquer.

Among foreign policy experts in Berlin, what happened in Congress caused great concern about the foreign policy reliability of the most important ally. “The blockade of Ukraine aid in Congress is just a first foretaste of what could threaten if Donald Trump is re-elected to the White House in November,” said the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Michael Roth (SPD), to the portal t online.

Scholz did not directly address the events in the US Congress. He simply said that his visit came “at a very special moment.” Before departure, he referred to the support that Germany has already provided for Ukraine and reiterated his reasons for continuing the aid. The Chancellor also explained his argument to the public in the USA in a guest article published in the “Wall Street Journal”.

Now is the moment “where we have to do what is necessary now,” emphasized Scholz. It’s about “giving Ukraine the opportunity to defend itself and at the same time sending a very clear signal to the Russian president: the signal that he cannot count on our support to weaken.”

The USA has been by far Ukraine’s largest supporter since the start of the war. Their military aid is on a scale that is currently considered irreplaceable.

Those around Scholz warned against having too high expectations of the visit. Government circles in Berlin said that Germany should “not overestimate” its influence in Washington. With regard to aid to Ukraine, the Chancellor wanted to “make it clear to the American public once again” that there is a burden-sharing with Europe.

Scholz mentioned the situation in the Middle East and strengthening NATO’s defense capability as further topics for his planned conversation with US President Joe Biden. Since taking office, Germany has “massively increased” its defense spending to two percent of economic output, wrote Scholz in the Wall Street Journal.

Scholz wants to meet with leading members of the US Congress for dinner on Thursday. This is probably about the blockade of aid to Ukraine. The meeting with President Biden at the White House is scheduled for Friday. The last meeting between the two politicians there was almost a year ago. The relationship between Scholz and Biden was characterized by those around the Chancellor as a “strong relationship of trust”.