Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday he had discussed possible additional sanctions on Russia in a call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and praised what he said was a more favourable change in Germany’s position towards Kyiv.
“I spoke today with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about how to bring to account all those guilty of war crimes. About how to strengthen sanctions against Russia and how to persuade Russia to seek peace,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address, looking relaxed in an armchair.
“I am happy to note that recently Germany’s position is changing in Ukraine’s favour. And I consider this absolutely logical as a majority of Germans support this policy. I am grateful to them. And I expect that everything we agreed will be implemented. This is very important.”
Germany, reluctant in the early stages of the Russian invasion to provide Ukraine with arms, has now agreed to supply anti-tank weaponry and missiles.
Zelenskiy, initially critical of Germany for failing to provide concrete help, particularly in an address to the Bundestag last month, has applauded Berlin’s moves.
GAS AND OIL IMPORTS
Scholz said on Friday that Germany could end Russian oil imports this year but stopping gas imports would be tougher because the country would need to build infrastructure to import gas from alternative sources.
Russian oil accounts for 25% of German imports, down from 35% before the Feb. 24 invasion. Gas imports to Germany from Russia have been cut to 40% from 55%, and hard coal imports to 25% from 50%.
A statement from Scholz’s office on Sunday on the chancellor’s call with Zelenskiy did not mention a discussion of sanctions, saying Zelenskiy had informed Scholz of “the current situation and negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.”
Scholz’s office said the chancellor condemned what he said were war crimes by Russia’s military in Bucha and other parts of Ukraine on the call and that the German government would ensure perpetrators were identified and brought before national and international courts.
Moscow has rejected allegations by Ukraine and Western nations of war crimes. It denies targeting civilians during what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” its neighbour.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday that Russian forces appeared to have committed war crimes by targeting civilians in Ukraine, but that the matter needed to be investigated by lawyers.
Separately, Zelenskiy’s office said in a statement the president had held a conference call with Ukrainian officials during which Kyiv’s proposals for a sixth package of European Union sanctions had been developed.
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