Chancellery, Bellevue Palace, Bundestag: The President of the Ukrainian Parliament is touring through Berlin for two days in military gear to promote solidarity in the fight against the Russian attackers.
The President of the Ukrainian Parliament, Ruslan Stefantschuk, has called on Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and his government to quickly deliver the promised weapons to Ukraine.
“Waiting and hesitation costs lives. A day costs around 100 soldiers’ lives and 500 or more wounded,” he told the German Press Agency on Friday after a conversation with Scholz in the Berlin Chancellery. He also requested the delivery of Leopard main battle tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles from Germany.
During his visit to Kyiv exactly 100 days after the start of the war, he invited the chancellor to give a speech to the Ukrainian Rada parliament. And he held out the prospect of a visit to Germany by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the event that the course of the war develops positively for Ukraine. “When victory approaches, I think he (Zelenskyj) will make visits to different countries and come to Germany on an official visit,” said Stefanchuk, according to the official translation.
First trip abroad since the beginning of the war to Germany
For Stefantschuk, the visit to Germany is the first trip abroad since the beginning of the war. In Berlin, he was received in a higher rank than almost any other speaker of the parliament before him. Scholz met the head of the Rada, dressed in military gear, in the Chancellery. He was greeted with long applause in the plenary session of the Bundestag. Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD) paid tribute to his visit in a short speech. “The German Bundestag stands firmly on the side of Ukraine. We will continue to support your country in humanitarian, military, financial and diplomatic terms,” promised the SPD politician.
A visit to Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Bellevue Palace was also on the agenda for the President of Parliament. Stefantschuk had already met parliamentarians on Thursday, and on Friday he also had an appointment with opposition leader Friedrich Merz (CDU).
Ukraine wants German tanks
There were two main issues that interested the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament: When will the promised heavy weapons be delivered? And when will Ukraine get candidate status for joining the European Union?
“The delivery of weapons has the highest priority, as does the delivery of the appropriate ammunition,” said Stefantschuk of the dpa. Scholz announced three new weapons deliveries in the general debate in the Bundestag on Wednesday: Ukraine is to receive the Iris-T air defense system and a Cobra artillery detection radar from German industry. In addition, four Mars II multiple rocket launchers with a range of up to 40 kilometers are to be supplied from Bundeswehr stocks.
Ukraine would also like to see more modern weapons, including Marder and Leopard tanks. The German armaments company Rheinmetall has offered to supply these weapon systems. According to the federal government’s previous plans, they should only be used for the so-called ring exchange. Countries like the Czech Republic and Greece are to receive them as compensation for the delivery of old Soviet-design tanks to Ukraine.
At his meeting with Scholz, Stefantschuk also addressed the issue of EU candidate status, which is so important for Ukraine: “I made it clear again that candidate status does not mean membership. We understand that very well.” The federal government has not yet taken a position on this issue. However, Scholz made it clear that there should be no shortcuts for Ukraine on the way to the EU. The EU Commission intends to make a recommendation on this in June.
Is Scholz traveling to Kyiv? – «I am very optimistic»
Stefantschuk said that Scholz thanked him for his invitation to Kyiv – but had not yet accepted. «I am very optimistic. That’s why I’ll hope that after his thanks he will also accept the invitation. »
Scholz has already been invited to Kyiv by Selenskyj. Most recently, he had said that he would only travel to the Ukrainian capital if there were specific things to be settled. “I’m not going to join a group of people who do a quick in and out with a photo op. But when it does, it’s always about very specific things, »he said in an interview in mid-May.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) and Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) traveled to Kyiv during the war, as did Bundestag President Bärbel Bas (SPD). Scholz was in Kyiv in February before the war began.