New York (dpa)- In a speech to the United Nations, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has accused Russia’s President Vladimir Putin of “imperialism, plain and simple” and assured Ukraine of further support, including in the form of weapons. “Putin will only give up his war and his imperial ambitions if he realises that he cannot win,” Scholz told the UN General Assembly in New York. “In so doing, he isn’t just destroying Ukraine but is also ruining his own country.”
Scholz was speaking at the United Nations for the first time. It was also the first speech given by a German chancellor in the general debate of the UN General Assembly in 15 years.
The chancellor assured Ukraine of Germany’s lasting support. Ukraine must be able to defend itself against Russia’s invasion, Scholz said. “We’re supporting Ukraine with all our might: financially, economically, with humanitarian assistance, and also with weapons.” He called for tough punishment of Russian war crimes. “We must pay heed and take action when Russia commits war crimes in Mariupol, Bucha and Irpin. We will bring the murderers to justice.” He added that Germany was doing everything in its power to support the International Criminal Court and the Independent International Committee of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council.
Scholz also stressed that Germany would not accept a “peace dictated by Russia” – and no sham referendums either. This was an allusion to the votes planned by separatists in several Ukrainian regions. It is now feared that Russia could also annex these regions, as it did with the Crimean peninsula in 2014. The chancellor had already declared the planned referendums to be illegal under international law before his speech.