German, U.S. leaders to map out next steps for Ukraine

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U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speak during a bilateral meeting in Elmau, Germany.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, FileU.S. President Joe Biden (L) and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz speak during a bilateral meeting in Elmau, Germany.

‘What will the next months in Ukraine look like? What does that mean for the support that the allies can organize for Ukraine?’

Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz was expected to arrive in Washington on Friday for talks with U.S. President Joe Biden on charting the way ahead in their support for Ukraine, after friction over tank deliveries to the war-torn country.

Scholz’s first trip to the United States in over a year offers the leaders a chance to demonstrate their resolve in backing Ukraine against Russia’s invasion. But the talks will also likely delve into thorny issues dividing the two allies – including Berlin’s fears over Washington’s green subsidies under the Inflation Reduction Act as well as U.S. caution over Germany’s economic ties with Beijing.

“I think the two of them are now more concerned about the way ahead – what will the next months in Ukraine look like? What does that mean for the support that the allies can organize for Ukraine?” said Scholz’s spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.

As the war in Ukraine recently entered its second year, Scholz offered a hint at the ongoing discussions among allies: “We are speaking with Kyiv and other partners over future security guarantees for Ukraine,” he told the Bundestag on the eve of the meeting.

But Russia on Friday warned Western countries against providing more weapons to Ukraine, singling out Germany: “It is obvious that this will prolong the conflict and have sad consequences for the Ukrainian people,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The chancellor’s visit also comes after a period of tensions, namely over the delivery of modern battle tanks long sought by officials in Kyiv, which was agreed to at the end of January.

In an admission of the friction between the two of the biggest armaments suppliers to Ukraine, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that Germany had said no Leopard tanks would be sent “until the president also agreed to send Abrams.” 

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