'It's too late!' Ukraine's top diplomat rages at Germany over historic policy shift


Germany announced on Saturday they would put an end to a long-standing policy under which they refused to provide Ukraine with military support. Berlin has blocked exports of lethal weapons to conflict zones since the end of World War II but reviewed its position amid growing pressure to help. But Vadym Prystaiko raged at Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his country, insisting the U-turn was just “too late” for Ukrainians fighting against Russia.

Speaking to BBC, Mr Prystaiko said: “It’d be too late.

“We asked them for so many years.

“They were not just not providing them, they were blocking support from other nations, from NATO nations. Using their right to veto decisions.

“They came to change their minds, but it’s just too late.”

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Announcing the change of policy, Mr Scholz said: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point.

“It threatens our entire post-war order. In this situation, it is our duty to do our utmost to support Ukraine in defending itself against Vladimir Putin’s invading army.

“Germany stands closely by Ukraine’s side.”

Berlin also announced they would spend more than 2 percent of GDB in defence as a result of Russian aggressiveness.

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Speaking in the Bundestag on Sunday, Mr Scholz said: “We will have to invest more in the security of our country to protect out freedom and democracy.”

He also announced the German government had decided to supply 100 billion euros for military investments from its 2022 budget.

Germany has long resisted pressure from the United States and others to raise its defense spending to 2 percent of economic output in the light of its bloody 20th-century history and resulting strong pacifism among its population.

But it has made a turnabout on various longstanding policies in recent days, including its refusal to deliver weapons to conflict zones, agreeing to send Ukraine defensive anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles and ammunition.

Mr Scholz added: “There could be no other answer to Putin’s aggression.”

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Germany will also increase the volume of natural gas in its storage facilities by 2 billion cubic metres (bcm) via long-term options and will buy additional natural gas on world markets in coordination with the European Union, he said.

Berlin has 24 bcm of underground caverns of gas storage, which are currently around 30 percent full, according to industry group Gas Infrastructure Europe data.

Chancellor Scholz also said Germany would quickly build two LNG terminals, in Brunsbuettel and Wilhelmshaven.

He signalled his support for the construction of LNG terminals when he was finance minister and deputy chancellor in the previous government, but little progress was made.



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