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Germany rejects separate peace in Ukraine


A general view of the plenary hall of the German parliament’s lower house, or Bundestag, ahead of a debate on a comprehensive support plan for Ukraine in Berlin on April 28.


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MICHELE TANTUSSI/REUTERS

It’s a safe bet that Vladimir Putin hopes that, as his war in Ukraine drags on, the Western allies will be tempted to sacrifice Ukraine to end the conflict. Kudos, then, to lawmakers in Berlin for staring down Mr. Putin’s many attempts to bully Germany and others into negotiating a separate peace.

The German parliament adopted Thursday, 586 votes against 100, a resolution calling on the government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz to intensify its deliveries of heavy weapons to kyiv. The government finally announced on Tuesday that it would send 50 Cheetah anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine, although Mr Scholz is still reluctant to send other systems such as the Leopard tank.

The resolution also contemplates negotiations for a ceasefire, and this paragraph is as big a rebuff to Mr. Putin as the arms shipments. The resolution demands that Mr Scholz’s government support “all efforts of the Ukrainian government to reach a ceasefire in direct negotiations with the Russian leadership”. But, the lawmakers added, “it must be clear that there can be no negotiations over the heads of the Ukrainians.”

This is an important message for kyiv, the Kremlin and Western allies. German lawmakers have now said they will not be bullied into stopping arms deliveries or speaking directly to Mr Putin. This is part of a European trend. French President Emmanuel Macron, once one of Mr Putin’s main interlocutors, has reportedly not spoken to Mr Putin since March 29 and recently unveiled a new round of heavy weapons deliveries to Ukraine.

Mr. Scholz has too often hesitated on heavy weapons and energy sanctions. Maybe he wasn’t sure if Ukraine could win. But as allies such as the United States increasingly talk about the possibility of victory, Berlin has even fewer excuses to hold back. Lawmakers have signaled they want Germany to be a better ally of Ukraine, and hope the Chancellor listens.

Newspaper editorial report: Paul Gigot interviews General Jack Keane. Images: Shutterstock/AP/Russian Defense Ministry Composite: Mark Kelly

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