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Limited expectations as Scholz heads to Kyiv and Moscow


After heavy criticism for an initially timid response, the approach of Germany’s new government to the Ukraine crisis is improving as its position on Russia evolves.

Olaf Scholz is a famously quiet and cautious communicator and, as concerns mounted in Washington and London about the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the new German chancellor remained silent.

This time his silence reflected the fact that his government was unprepared for its first major foreign policy test, with marked divisions between the SPD and the Greens on how to manage a rapidly deteriorating relationship with Russia.

When he did speak, Scholz caused dismay in several NATO capitals by defending the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline. He called it ‘a purely private economic project’ even though the company building the pipeline is a subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned Gazprom.

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