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21 Mar, 2023 12:25

West must brace for protracted Ukraine conflict – Scholz

The German chancellor has suggested that even after hostilities end, things won’t return to normal overnight
West must brace for protracted Ukraine conflict – Scholz

The West should prepare for a long-term conflict in Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has warned. He predicted that after the fighting has stopped, the consequences of the confrontation will still persist.

Speaking at a meeting organized by the Rheinische Post newspaper in Duesseldorf on Monday, Scholz asserted that “we must prepare ourselves that it can last a long time,” adding that “even when the war is over, not everything will be normal overnight.

We should realize that this dreadful war of aggression and its consequences will keep us busy for a long time, and that we will have to deal with the clearing of the rubble for a long time,” Scholz stated.

Despite his prediction, Scholz argued that Berlin should not be deterred from working to bring an end to hostilities as soon as possible, and claimed that the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine was the key prerequisite for a “just peace.

In an apparent attempt to allay public concerns over his handling of the crisis, Scholz insisted that his government was “not acting recklessly.” The Rheinische Post interpreted the remark as an indication from the chancellor that he was against weapons deliveries to Ukraine becoming “too extensive.

Explaining his government’s goals in Ukraine, Scholz said Germany would like to see a situation where Kiev is able to “recover its security.

The chancellor also stated that he holds regular phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the conversations lasting up to an hour and a half. Scholz added that they sometimes speak in German, although they also use an interpreter. According to the chancellor, while Putin is always polite, major differences of opinion remain between the pair.

In contrast, Scholz heaped praise on US President Joe Biden and claimed he shares a “common political concept” with the American leader.

The chancellor went on to insist that the European Union is more united than may appear to outside observers, but maintained that the bloc should do away with its unanimity principle when taking major decisions.

A single country should not be able to “halt everything” as “not everyone always agrees” on every issue, Scholz argued, adding that “we cannot simply leave all institutional structures as they are.