"Putin must not win": Scholz in Davos: Concerns about war and criticism of China

The World Economic Forum takes place this year in the shadow of the Russian war in Ukraine.

"Putin must not win": Scholz in Davos: Concerns about war and criticism of China

The World Economic Forum takes place this year in the shadow of the Russian war in Ukraine. This was a failure, said Chancellor Scholz in Davos. He warns of the conflict escalating and responds to reports of serious human rights violations in China.

In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Chancellor Olaf Scholz described Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine as a failure - "with terrible consequences" for Russia and the rest of the world. However, the obvious failure of Russia has not yet averted the danger. A possible escalation of the war has not yet been averted, the Chancellor warned.

Referring to President Vladimir Putin, Scholz said: "He has already missed all his strategic goals." Nevertheless, there is still one question that worries him "every day" - namely "whether a war will break out that will go beyond the war in Ukraine". The goal of international Russia policy is "very clear," said Scholz. "Putin mustn't win his war. And I'm convinced he won't win it!"

The Chancellor called for opposition to the Russian President's claim to power. It's about "making it clear to Putin: There will be no dictated peace," said Scholz. "Ukraine will not accept that - and neither will we." Scholz emphasized that the Federal Republic was now delivering weapons to a war zone for the first time. "However, Putin will only seriously negotiate peace if he realizes that he cannot break Ukraine's defenses," he said.

In Davos, Scholz cited several points where Putin's miscalculations in Ukraine had worked to the detriment of Russia. A capture of all of Ukraine by Russia seems "further away today than it was at the beginning of the war," he said. "More than ever, Ukraine is emphasizing its European future." In addition, Putin underestimated the "unity and strength" of NATO, the EU and the G7. "With Sweden and Finland, two close friends and partners want to join the North Atlantic alliance."

The chancellor warned of dramatic consequences should Russia succeed in invading Ukraine. "Putin wants to go back to a world order in which the stronger dictates what is right, in which freedom, sovereignty and self-determination are not due to everyone," said Scholz, adding: "That's imperialism!" This is an "attempt to bomb us back to a time when war was a common political tool, when our continent and the world lacked a stable peace order."

Scholz admitted that the war in Ukraine shaped his tenure like no other topic. "You can't switch off, it just doesn't stop," he said. "This is what worries me, like millions of other people in Europe and around the world, every day."

In his speech, the Federal Chancellor also criticized the treatment of the Muslim Uyghurs in China as a violation of human rights. The world should not "ignore when human rights are violated, as we are seeing in Xinjiang," said Scholz.

An international media consortium had previously published further evidence of the mass internment of Uyghurs in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. Photos, speeches and instructions from the authorities documented, among other things, torture and the existence of a shoot-to-kill order. Beijing dismissed the allegations as the "lie of the century".

In Davos, Scholz expressed concern about China's growing claim to power. The People's Republic is now undoubtedly a "global player," said the Chancellor. But she shouldn't derive the "claim to Chinese hegemony in Asia and beyond," he said.

There is just as little need to "isolate China," said Scholz. Rather, the country must be embedded in a multilateral and rule-based world order. The federal government had already announced on Wednesday that it would distance itself. Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said that although the People's Republic is a major trading partner, there are "very relevant problems", including with respect to human rights. Germany will reduce its dependencies.