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Scholz sees no change in Putin, says whole world hurt by 'insane' war

Published May 14,2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has not detected any change of heart on the part of Russian leader Vladimir Putin over the "insane" 11-week-old war he launched against Ukraine.

In an interview with news outlet t-online published on Saturday, the chancellor said it was clear Russia had not achieved any of its stated war aims, one of which was to secure the territory of Ukraine as a buffer between Moscow and NATO expansion.

Scholz noted that the war has, on the contrary, breathed new life into the Western defence alliance.

"NATO has not withdrawn, but has actually strengthened its forces on the alliance's eastern flank. And the alliance will become even stronger when Finland and Sweden join NATO," he said.

He told t-online the Russian military has suffered significant losses, far more than in the decade-long campaign by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

Scholz had spoken with Putin on the phone for more than an hour on Friday. It was the first time they had talked in six weeks.

The chancellor said Putin "should realize that a way out of this situation is only through a settlement with Ukraine," but that the terms of the peace could not be dictated by Moscow.

Scholz promised that Germany would continue to punish Russia through sanctions and that his government supported arms deliveries for Kiev.

"For Putin's insane idea of wanting to expand the Russian empire, Russia and the whole world are paying a very high price right now," Scholz said, pointing to how the war has left the world short of important grain crops that are needed especially in developing countries.

"That's where real hunger is at stake - not just whether there's enough sunflower oil on the supermarket shelves, as is the case here."