German Scholz supports moving Ukrainian weapons on trip to Japan

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Tokyo (AFP) – Chancellor Olaf Scholz thanked the German parliament on Thursday for backing the decision to equip Ukraine with heavy weapons, as Russia said Western arms deliveries to the country were dangerous for European security.

Scholz, in Tokyo on his first official visit to Asia, did not respond directly to the Kremlin’s comments, but said a plan to replace stocks sent to Ukraine from Eastern European countries would to use weapons as quickly as possible.

Japan and Germany, the world’s third and fourth largest economies, have sanctioned Russia for the war, as have other members of the G7, of which Berlin is chairman in 2022.

Tokyo sent protective and humanitarian supplies to Ukraine, and Germany sent defensive weapons until the government announced its policy change earlier this week, which lawmakers approved on Thursday.

“I am very grateful for the clear support that the German parliament gave today to my government’s policy” for the delivery of heavy weapons, Scholz said during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. .

Earlier, Scholz told business leaders that Germany is “delivering sophisticated weapons on a large scale to the war zone in Ukraine” and has “significantly expanded military support to our allies in Central and Eastern Europe, which allows them to help Ukraine with weapons in a timely manner”.

Scholz and Kishida said they had agreed to strengthen security ties between their countries, pledging to hold a second round of talks between their defense and foreign ministers after an initial meeting last year.

During talks between the two men, the Kremlin said Western arms supplies to Ukraine “threat the security of the continent”, responding to a call from Britain’s Foreign Secretary for Kyiv’s allies to ” increase” military production to help Ukraine.

Kishida said he wanted to “pay my deepest respects to Germany’s decision to make a huge shift in national security policy.”

Both Japan and Germany are heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels and have so far withheld bans on Russian gas and oil imports.

But Scholz said his country had planned for a possible cut in gas supplies from Russia.

“We can only prepare, and that’s what we had already started doing before the war,” he said, adding that it “makes no sense” to speculate on possible Russian actions. .

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