Germany’s chancellor denounces Putin’s claims that he is fighting ‘Nazis’
By Erika Solomon
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed Sunday to continue supporting Ukraine and denounced Russian Vladimir Putin for likening his country’s invasion to the World War Soviet battle against the Nazis.
“President Putin equates his barbaric war of aggression with the fight against National Socialism,” Scholz said in a speech commemorating Nazi Germany’s surrender on May 8, 1945. “This is falsifying history and defamatory. It is our duty to say this clearly.”
His remarks came as Germans voted in state elections widely seen as a referendum on Scholz’s Ukraine policy. In recent weeks, the chancellor has come under widespread criticism — even from politicians whose parties are in his government coalition — that he has moved too slowly on military support and on an embargo Russian oil.
Early projections for state elections in at least one German state showed his party losing ground, results that may also have been a consequence of the political hits his party, the Social Democrats, has been taking for its onetime closeness to Russia.
Projections from the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein showed the party dropping to third place. The Christian Democrats were projected to lead the state, offering the conservative party a boost after it lost the reins of the federal government when Angela Merkel stepped down last year.
In his speech, Scholz vowed to back Ukraine and send it weapons. And he pushed back against critics, defending his caution over Ukraine as warranted.
The chancellor said he had sworn an oath to protect his country from harm and had to act carefully. But he vowed to remain united with European nations and with Ukraine against Russia.
“Dear fellow citizens,” Scholz said, “I cannot tell you today when or how Russia’s cruel war against Ukraine will end. But one thing is clear: There will be no Russian-dictated peace. The Ukrainians will not accept that — and neither will we.”