Germany warns of arms race as Ukraine pushes for missiles and fighter jets

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warns of a race to arm Ukraine with powerful weapons as Ukraine ramps up its call for fighter jets and long-range missiles.

Scholz made a breakthrough with President Biden earlier this month by sending modern tanks to Ukraine, but said fighter jets are a non-starter.

“I can only advise against entering into a constant competition to outbid each other when it comes to weapon systems,” Scholz said in an interview with German news outlet Tagesspiegel.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this weekend made a case for long-range missiles and fighter jets as he seeks to bolster the country’s air defenses.

But Germany has insisted that it will not equip Ukraine with the warplanes.

“The issue of combat aircraft does not arise at all,” Scholz said, according to Politico.

Moscow has portrayed the tank delivery as “direct involvement” in the war, despite Biden’s insistence that the move is “not an offensive threat” to Russia.

The US has not shared any plans to send fighter jets.

NBC News reported that Biden got angry with the Ukrainian president on a phone call last fall, when Zelensky responded to the latest US announcement of billions in aid by piling on additional requests. Biden reportedly told Zelensky he should be more grateful for US support.

The US plans to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, and Germany, the maker of Leopard 2 main battle tanks, said it would send 14 machines and approve other countries’ requests to do the same.

“The speed of supplies has been and will continue to be one of the most important factors in this war,” Zelensky said in a speech on Sunday, noting “significant defense achievements” by the US, Germany and other NATO members.

“Russia hopes to prolong the war, exhaust our troops,” he added. “So we must make time our weapon. We must expedite events, accelerate supplies and open new necessary weapons options for Ukraine.”

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