German Chancellor Olaf Schulz said that Putin has failed in all of his strategic goals and will not impose peace terms.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not win the war in Ukraine, stressing that the NATO military alliance will not become an active party in the conflict.
Speaking Thursday to a global business community attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the German leader also said that Putin had already failed in all of his strategic goals.
Schultz said the Russian president “underestimated” the allies’ resolve and strength in the face of his aggression in Ukraine. Our goal is crystal clear – Putin must not win this war. And I’m convinced he won’t win it.”
He said Russia’s plan to seize all of Ukraine is “far further today than it was at the beginning” of its invasion, as Ukraine continues to provide an impressive defense.
Schulz’s remarks came as the war in Ukraine entered its fourth month, and Russian forces made new attempts to seize territory in eastern Ukraine.
After failing to capture the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, or its second city, Kharkiv, the Russian forces are trying to take full control of the eastern Donbass region and have also advanced in the south despite heavy Ukrainian resistance and harsh Western sanctions against Moscow.
On Thursday, Ukrainian officials said, Russian forces tried to storm the besieged industrial center in nearby Severodonetsk and Lysechhansk, the focal point of the renewed Russian offensive in the Donbass region.
‘Putin will not dictate the terms of peace’
“Putin will seriously negotiate peace only when he realizes he cannot break Ukraine’s defenses,” said Schulz, who has spoken with Putin several times by phone since the invasion of Moscow.
He vowed that the Western allies, who were arming Ukraine and imposing heavy sanctions on Russia, would continue their support for Kiev.
“It’s a matter of making it clear to Putin that there will be no imposed peace,” Schultz said. Ukraine will not accept that and neither will we.
Schulz stressed again that nothing will be done “to make NATO a party to the conflict because that would mean a direct confrontation between the nuclear powers.”
He was encouraged, however, by Finland and Sweden’s closeness to a military alliance as the two countries agreed last week to apply for membership.
The chancellor added that Putin underestimated the unity and strength with which the G7, NATO and the European Union responded to his aggression.
However, Schulz did not directly address criticism from Ukraine that Germany was not moving fast enough to supply Kyiv with heavy weapons.
He only said that Germany’s support for Kiev would continue in coordination with the Allies.
Ukraine urges Berlin to speed up the delivery of heavy weapons, including Leopard tanks and Marder armored vehicles.
At a separate session in Davos on Wednesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed his frustration about the process: “I don’t understand why it is so complicated, but I respect the situation in the German government and look forward to seeing how it works. The story ends.”
As Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko noted at the economic forum in the Swiss ski resort, “everything is working very slowly” regarding weapons decisions.