On February 24, 2022, the world watched in disbelief the Russian invasion of Ukraine, shattering the European peace order. This unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine, ordered by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, constitutes a flagrant breach of international law and inflicted enormous suffering on the people of Ukraine.
Since then, the Russian attacks have become more and more violent, recently even bombing kindergartens, hospitals, and civilians standing in line to get some food.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Germany and across Europe have taken to the streets since then in protest of this cruel invasion that brought more than 75 years of peace in Europe to a violent end.
In the meantime, the German Government, in close cooperation with the other EU member states and NATO partners, has launched a series of unprecedented measures against Russia.
According to a statement published by the German Embassy in Washington DC on March 4, 2022, the German Government has implemented so far the following measures:
Arms exports: Germany has supplied 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles from German Armed Forces stocks to Ukraine. The German Government also approved the delivery of former German or German-made weapons to Ukraine by Estonia and the Netherlands.
Sanctions: In lockstep with the US, other NATO allies, the EU, and the G7, Germany coordinated a package of massive sanctions against Russia during its G7 presidency. It is the largest ever set of sanctions against a country of this size.
– The EU has cut off key Russian banks from the S.W.I.F.T. system.
– Russian banks and state-owned companies have been cut off from financing. The Central Bank, Russia’s single most important financial institution, will no longer be able to support its currency, the ruble.
– Export restrictions, including on high-tech products, will prevent Russia from participating in the economy of the future.
– Germany and other EU partners have been also going after Russian oligarchs and Putin’s inner circle by seizing their assets. They won’t be able to hide their money in European safe havens anymore.
Investing in defense: In 2022, more than USD 110 billion will be earmarked in the German budget for its security and the modernization of its armed forces. From now on, Germany will annually spend more than 2 percent of our GDP on defense. This is a paradigm shift signifying no less than the end of Germany’s culture of military restraint.
Supporting NATO: Germany will defend every inch of NATO territory. Together with our NATO allies, Germany is strengthening NATO’s Eastern flank by deploying additional land, maritime, and air forces.
Reducing energy dependence: In his historic speech last Sunday, German Chancellor Scholz not only ushered in a paradigm shift in German foreign and defense policy, but also energy policy. He proposed concrete measures to reduce Germany’s energy dependency on Russia in the short and long term. Scholz announced that German would build up storage capacities for natural gas, consider a coal reserve, look for alternative coal, gas, and oil suppliers, build two new LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) terminals on German territory, and accelerate the shift to renewable energies.
Humanitarian aid: With a major humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine and soon more than 1 million Ukrainians having to flee their home country, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock responded promptly: “We will take in all Ukrainians fleeing.” Germany has stepped up humanitarian aid significantly, with over USD 6 million for the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund and USD 11.2 million for the International Red Cross. Germany has been so far the largest bilateral donor of civilian assistance to Ukraine, having spent more than USD 2 billion since 2014, including humanitarian assistance.