German Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed Sunday that “very soon the Russian leadership will feel what a high price they will have to pay” for the invasion of Ukraine, as he announced he will raise German military funding in a special session with lawmakers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “will not change his path overnight,” Scholz conceded.
“Yesterday we decided that Germany will deliver weapons to Ukraine to defend themselves. Putin’s aggression meant we cannot give any other response,” he added.
Scholz also revealed he would raise the proportion of Germany’s economic output spent on defense to 2%, and allocate 100 billion euros ($112 billion) to its armed foces, in order to modernize and better equip the country’s army — a significant expansion of German defense spending.
Scholz also mentioned the sanctions package against Russia, which he said was unprecedented.
The Russian attack on Ukraine is “despicable — it breaches international law, it cannot be justified,” Scholz said.
“February 24, 2022, marks a watershed in the history of our continent,” he added in the special session of parliament. “The horrid pictures we see from Kyiv, in Mariupol, show how unscrupulous [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is. This is so unfair, the pain of the Ukrainians, it gets really close to our hearts.”
Scholz mentioned the EU’s decision to remove Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system and said that “Russian banks and companies will be cut off from financing. We will focus on oligarchs in the EU. We have punitive measures against Putin and people around him.”
“We need to support Ukraine in this desperate situation and we have done so during the last weeks and months, the attack on Ukraine means we are in a new time. As democrats, as Europeans, we are on your side, the right side of history,” Scholz said.
Germany locks Russia out of its airspace: Germany also will close its airspace to Russian aircraft from 3pm local time (9aET) on Sunday, according to a statement from the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport.
The Ministry added that humanitarian aid flights were exempt from the ban, which will run initially for three months.
It sees Germany join a growing band of nations in Europe closing its airspace to Russian plans.