(Bloomberg) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged to continue shipping weaponry to Ukraine, though insisted that he aimed to avoid an open conflict with Russia that could lead to nuclear war.
Scholz has come under intense pressure to increase military support to Ukraine, including sending heavy weapons, and expand European Union sanctions against Russia to include oil and natural gas imports.
“We need to do everything to avoid a direct military confrontation between NATO and a heavily armed superpower such as Russia, a nuclear power,” Scholz told Der Spiegel magazine in an interview published Friday. “I will do everything to avoid an escalation that could lead to World War III – there can be no nuclear war.”
Scholz reinforced his rejection of an European Union gas embargo, saying such a move wouldn’t end the war in Ukraine – and would instead trigger a “dramatic economic crisis” in Europe, leading to the loss of millions of jobs.
The chancellor said Germany is in talks with the Slovenian government over a deal in which the Balkan nation would send Soviet-era military equipment, such as tanks, and in exchange receive more modern hardware from German industry.
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