- Zelensky says he understands Germany needs to take a more balanced approach to Russia.
- He BILD that he is no longer angry with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for hesitating on sanctions.
- Zelenskyy said Germany is more economically tied to Russia and cannot easily break that.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was no longer angry with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for hesitating to impose tougher sanctions on Russia and taking a “balanced perspective”.
“There were times when I didn’t understand why some people chose to act in a balanced way. Were they really ready to suffer attacks like that themselves in order to understand what it means? Sometimes emotions get the better of you,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with German tabloid BILD reporter Paul Ronzheimer.
Zelenskyy added that he wondered how Scholz could take “a balanced perspective” when Germany had “dark spots in its history”.
“I wanted him to take a clear position for one side. Germany has a leading role in Europe – and I wanted them to stand on the side of the truth. I wanted him to decide to quickly take the Ukrainian side. My emotions are not so strong. stronger now. And I get the first signals from Germany. I’m not talking about the German people, I felt their support from the beginning. But now I also see the support from the German government, says Zelensky.
Zelenskyy added that while countries like the United States don’t have to be “moderate” in their approach to Russia, he understands that Germany has strong economic ties to Russia.
“Americans don’t act in moderation. Leading EU politicians, on the other hand, have to act differently. Every politician has to find their own position. Politicians have to be honest, they have to take leading roles.” he said to Ronzheimer.
Germany is heavily dependent on Russian coal, oil and gas. In 2021, Russian gas accounted for 55% of Germany’s gas imports, Reuters reported.
Following atrocities in Ukrainian towns like Bucha, Germany came under pressure to ban Russian energy, but Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing said the move would mean “a significant recession in Germany would then be practically unavoidable”.
He said there had been talks within the European Union about an oil embargo, which Germany does not want.
“But we also know that Germany does not want an oil embargo. There is a coal embargo now – but the discussion about this has also taken a long time. We know that Germany blocked,” Zelenskyy said.
He said he was aware that some countries were against oil and gas embargoes and that he was also happy that coal and wood were sanctioned and understood why Germany had voted in favor of a four-month transition period away from Russian coal.
On Thursday, an EU source told Reuters that Russia’s coal ban plan is expected to come into force a month later than originally planned due to pressure from Germany. The coal ban is part of the fifth round of EU sanctions against Russia.
“It is not so easy for Germany, nor for Mr. Scholz. Germany has many economic interests linked to Russia. Mr. Scholz has not been Chancellor for very long, it is not so easy to end economic ties with Russia now.” Zelensky said.
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