Germany’s Scholz: Russia can’t dictate peace deal in Ukraine

BERLIN — Russia should not be able to set the terms of any peace deal that brings its invasion of Ukraine to an end, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Sunday during a television address to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II.

“I cannot tell you today when and how Russia’s cruel war against Ukraine will end,” Scholz said. “But one thing is clear, there should not be a peace dictated by Russia. The Ukrainians will not accept that, and neither will we.”

Under Scholz, Germany has broken a long-standing taboo by agreeing to provide offensive weaponry to Ukraine for use in its war against Russian forces. But Scholz has come under fierce attack both for not moving quickly enough in his support of Ukraine, and also from many domestically for going too far by sending arms.

In his address Sunday evening, Scholz sought to reassure Germans that he was working in step with the country’s allies and would not make NATO a direct party to the war. The “difficult” decisions made by his government to support Kyiv over recent weeks were necessary to counter Russia’s aggression, he said.

“Not having done so would mean capitulating to sheer violence and empowering the aggressor,” said Scholz.

On Monday — the day Russia commemorates its victory in World War II — Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to make an address from Moscow’s Red Square addressing the conflict.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had invited Scholz to visit Kyiv on that date in a symbolic move aimed at illustrating Germany’s support.