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German leader rejects criticism over Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during a media conference after an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks during a media conference after an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has brushed aside criticism that his government is not doing enough to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s invasion.

Even though Germany reversed its policy of not sending weapons to countries at war, Scholz has been accused at home and abroad of being hesitant and slow in coming to Ukraine’s aid. In an interview published today by newspaper Bild, the Social Democratic leader defended his government’s approach.

“I make my decisions quickly — and in coordination with our partners,” Scholz is quoted as saying. “I am suspicious of acting too hastily and Germany going it alone.”

Germany broke with tradition after Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24 to supply anti-tank weapons, surface-to-air missiles and other military equipment to Ukraine. It has since agreed to provide Gepard anti-aircraft guns, but Scholz has faced mounting pressure to send other heavy weapons including tanks and other armored vehicles.

Scholz, who replaced Angela Merkel as chancellor late last year, says he isn’t bothered by opposition claims that he’s too hesitant and timid.

“It is part of a democracy that you are robustly challenged by the opposition,” he says.

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