Scholz reminisces about how Putin tried to persuade him that Ukraine "belongs" to Russia

Olaf Scholz. Photo: Getty Images
Olaf Scholz. Photo: Getty Images

Russian leader Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that Ukraine apparently "belongs" to Russia shortly before his full-scale invasion of Ukraine began.

Source: Scholz, speaking to the public on Sunday at the Festival of Democracy (a three-day festival in Berlin to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Germany’s Basic Law); Ukrinform news agency

Details: The chancellor described meeting Putin in the Kremlin in February 2022 "at that long table that everyone remembers".

Scholz said Putin had expounded his imperial ideas that borders "can be changed by force" without regard to the law.

During the four-hour meeting, which took place just before the war broke out, Putin tried to prove that "Ukraine and Belarus are parts of Russia". Self-proclaimed Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko is aware of this and is under no illusions about it, the chancellor added.

Among other reasons for the war, Putin said that "Ukraine is heading towards NATO". Scholz said he had told Putin plainly that "this is out of the question for at least another 30 years".

The Kremlin leader also told his German guest about the "Nazi regime in Ukraine".

"To say that when the president is Jewish... Imagine how absurd and shameful that explanation is to justify the war," Scholz said.

The chancellor disagreed with a member of the audience who claimed that by helping Kyiv with weapons, Germany was "fuelling the war".

"We are giving Ukraine the opportunity to defend itself... We are providing maximum support to prevent this imperialist attack on a neighbouring state from succeeding... But at the same time, we are making sure that it does not escalate into a major war between Russia and NATO," Scholz said.

He added that the war is taking Russian as well as Ukrainian lives, "purely so that one day, 100 years from now, history books that he [Putin – ed.] will not even be able to read will say that he gained a couple of kilometres [of land]."

Background: Scholz said on Sunday that he opposes Ukraine using weapons provided by its partners to strike Russia because he wants to prevent "the conflict from escalating into a major war".

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