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Germany’s Scholz, Biden to discuss Ukraine aid, NATO and Israel war

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BERLIN: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his talks with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington on Friday will focus on how to strengthen support for Ukraine to help it battle Russia’s invasion.
Ukraine, which is outmanned and outgunned on the battlefield in a war about to head into its third year, relies heavily on its Western allies for military and financial support.
The United States has to date been Kyiv’s biggest backer but Scholz’s visit to Washington comes as worry is mounting over its commitment to Ukraine, with Congress stalling over an aid package request made by Biden in October amid political infighting.
The possible return of Donald Trump to the White House could further damage that commitment, European politicians worry.
“What has so far been agreed in Europe and the U.S. Congress is not enough so far,” Scholz said at the airport in Berlin shortly before flying off to Washington. “So we need to find a way for us all to do more together.”
Scholz’s visit will start on Thursday with a dinner with U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. On Friday morning he will have breakfast with U.S. business leaders before meeting with Biden in the afternoon.
The European Union approved a four-year 50 billion euro ($54 billion) facility for Ukraine last week in a boost for Kyiv which depends heavily on its Western allies for military and financial support.
Germany alone has so far delivered or committed to some 28 billion euros in aid for Ukraine, government officials say.
“Germany has already made a very large contribution,” Scholz said. “But that will not be enough on its own.”
Ukrainian military officials have said they face an acute shortage of ammunition and artillery shells as Russian forces press on with renewed assaults on several areas in the east and southeast of the country.
Scholz warned that a potential Russian victory was not just of concern for Ukraine and Europe but the whole world, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal published on Thursday.
“Russia’s brutal attempt to steal territory by force could serve as a blueprint for other authoritarian leaders around the globe,” he said. “More countries would run the risk of falling prey to a nearby predator.”
Scholz aimed to also discuss plans for strengthening the western NATO defence alliance and the Israel-Hamas war in his meeting with Biden, German government officials said.
Scholz said both felt the responsibility to stand by Israel’s side while developing the conditions necessary for a sustainable peace in the region, such as a two-state solution and humanitarian aid for Gaza.

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