The West should do its best to prevent an escalation between Russia and NATO, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday, while stressing his belief that it is necessary to continue providing Ukraine with arms to fight Russia.
Speaking at a conference of the Social Democratic Party in the southern German city of Friedrichshafen, Scholz claimed that many people “are scared, and have reasons for it.”
While pledging to continue supporting Ukraine militarily, he noted that Western countries should “be concerned that there is no escalation that could lead to a war between Russia and NATO.”
“It is important to act prudently and decisively at the same time,” he added.
Scholz’s comments come after last month he warned against taking “careless steps” amid the Ukraine conflict. “There must be no direct conflict between Russia and NATO,” he stressed at the time.
With relations between the West and Russia having already hit new lows after Moscow started its military operation in Ukraine, fears of a direct clash between Russia and NATO were recently triggered by a missile landing in a Polish village close to the Ukrainian border.
Following the blast, Zelensky pinned the blame on Russia, calling the incident “a very serious escalation” and an attack on NATO that demanded a response. Ultimately, however, Western officials admitted that the missile was of Ukrainian and not Russian origin.
The Russian Defense Ministry denied any involvement in the incident, saying its military experts had analyzed the photos from the scene and identified the debris as parts of an S-300 air defense system missile used by Ukraine.
Germany, along with many other Western countries, has been providing Ukraine with military hardware, including Gepard anti-aircraft guns, MARS II multiple rocket launchers, and the IRIS-T air defense system. Moscow has repeatedly warned that weapons shipments will only prolong the Ukraine conflict.
Meanwhile former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has said that the collective West is growing tired of Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky.
“Everyone is tired of the Kiev regime. Especially of the neurotic Zelensky, who is constantly whipping up tensions, whining, sniveling and extorting more and more money and weapons handouts. [He] acts like a hysterical child with developmental problems,” Medvedev stated.
The reaction to the missile strike that hit the Polish village of Przewodow on Tuesday, killing two civilians, has revealed a new “symptom” in this trend, with even “the most ardent Russophobes” in Warsaw refusing to blame the incident on Moscow, the ex-president commented.
On Friday, Warsaw called the strike an “unfortunate accident” that was “practically impossible” to prevent.
“The US, NATO and the European Union do not want a complete rupture with Russia, risking a third world [war]. Hence, the frequent attempts to rein in Kiev and bring it to its senses, to push it to negotiate,” Medvedev wrote.
By refusing to talk with Russia, Zelensky is actually pursuing much more mundane and selfish goals, Medvedev suggested.
He added that “if [Zelensky] does not accept the reality of Ukraine’s collapse, it is pointless to sit down at the [negotiating] table. And if [he] does accept it – he will be taken out by his own nationalists, who are intertwined with the army top brass.”
The former president’s comments came as several leading politicians in the West, including French President Emmanuel Macron, have repeatedly called for direct talks between Kiev and Moscow.
Recent reports have also indicated that Washington has been privately pushing Ukraine to drop its uncompromising rejection of the peace process with Russia.
Last week, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, suggested that a Ukrainian military victory might be unachievable and that winter could provide an opportunity to begin talks with Moscow.