Scholz says top priority is to avoid NATO confrontation with Russia

BERLIN (Reuters) – The Western military alliance North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) needs to avoid a direct military confrontation with Russia that could lead to a third world war, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview with Der Spiegel when asked about the fact that Germany does not deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine.

Scholz is facing mounting criticism at home and abroad for his government’s apparent reluctance to hand over heavy battlefield weapons such as tanks and howitzers to Ukraine to help it fend off Russian attacks, even as other Western allies step up. the shipments.

Asked in a lengthy interview published on Friday why he thinks the delivery of tanks could lead to nuclear war, he said there was no rule book outlining when Germany could be considered part of the war in Ukraine.

“That’s why it’s even more important that we consider each step very carefully and coordinate closely with each other,” he said. “Avoiding an escalation towards NATO is a priority for me.”

“That’s why I don’t focus on research or let myself be annoyed by shrill phone calls. The consequences of a mistake would be dramatic.”

This was a departure from his earlier statements on the matter, which focused on the fact that the stockpiles of Germany’s own Armed Forces were too low to send heavy weapons to the battlefield, while what German industry said it could supply could not. be easily put to use.

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