Biden and German Chancellor Scholz are on their way to a crucial meeting at the White House for talks about China’s threats to arm Russia and Republicans threatening to control all US weapons sent to Ukraine
- Two men will sit down in Oval Office on Friday for a private meeting
- Will discuss their recent encounters with Zelensky
- Zelensky wants more Western weapons, fearing China will arm Russia
President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will discuss the war in Ukraine in a closed-door meeting at the White House on Friday, which comes as China considers arming Russia and Republicans cut back on US aid to the embattled nation.
The two leaders will also discuss the meetings each man had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — Biden when he traveled to Kiev two weeks ago and Scholz when Zelensky traveled to Paris in early February — and his requests for more military aid.
Zelensky is pressuring the West for more powerful weapons as he prepares for a spring counter-offensive against Russia.
“The overarching goal of this meeting was an opportunity for the two leaders to align specifically with Ukraine,” a senior government official said.
President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meet in the Oval Office on Friday – above the two men together at the G7 summit in Germany
Zelensky’s arms request stems from concerns that China will arm Russia with artillery and drones to aid its invasion, providing Moscow with much-needed supplies as it faces equipment shortages.
White House spokesman John Kirby said the US doesn’t believe China has decided to send arms to Russia — at least not yet — “but we don’t believe they’ve taken it off the table.”
The US has expressed concern to China, warning that sending arms to Russia “is not in their best interest,” Kirby said at the White House press conference on Thursday.
He also said the United States will announce a new round of military aid to Ukraine on Friday, using “ammunition and ammunition that the Ukrainians will need for the systems they already have, such as the HIMARS and the artillery.”
But questions have been raised about what else is on the agenda, given the low-key nature of the trip: Scholz is not bringing any traveling press, the two leaders are not holding a joint press conference, and the Germans announced the trip all at once. – release line.
The two men will meet in the Oval Office for about an hour, including one-on-one time.
Their halt comes as concerns grow in Europe about how long a united front of support for Ukraine will last, especially with the upcoming US presidential election and Republicans pushing for US aid cuts.
In addition, House Republicans have pledged to scrutinize and monitor the more than $112 billion in military and economic aid that the Democrat-controlled Congress approved last year.
Ukrainian soldiers fire a grenade from a towed howitzer FH-70 in the front line with Russia
Olaf Scholz was last in the White House in February 2022 (above) just after becoming chancellor and before Russia invaded Ukraine
Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has pushed for an audit of US military and economic aid to Ukraine — a move with strong GOP support.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the US has sent a wide variety of weapon systems across the pond, including hundreds of anti-tank missiles, kamikaze drones, and various anti-armor munitions.
There are also signs that Western allies are becoming hesitant to send more money to Ukraine, fearing that their people will lose interest in the conflict.
Washington and its allies pressured Germany to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine – a move Scholz agreed to after the US promised to send their Abrams tanks. There is concern that advanced weapons may not be useful to Ukraine due to the high maintenance requirements and extensive training to operate them.
Biden eventually sent 31 Abrams tanks and Germany agreed to provide 14 Leopard 2s.
“We wanted to make sure we were all together,” Biden said.
President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will discuss their recent meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – Biden (top left) during his trip to Kiev a few weeks ago and Scholz (top right) with French President Emmanuel Macron when Zelensky was in Paris in early February
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan suggested Biden send the hardware to placate the Germans.
“In the interests of the unity of the alliance and to ensure that Ukraine gets what it wanted, despite the fact that the Abrams are not the tool they need, the president said, OK, I’m going to be the leader of the free world.” . I’ll send Abrams down the road if you send Leopards now,” Sullivan told ABC News. “And this is actually an example of Joe Biden assembling the global coalition to give Ukraine what it needs.”
Biden and Scholz last met at the White House in February 2022, shortly after Scholz took office as chancellor and before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. They have since met in Europe – mostly at meetings of NATO and G7/G20 leaders.