FRANKFURT, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin in his telephone conversations with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz “has not made any threats against me or Germany,” Scholz said in an interview with Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Former British prime minister Boris Johnson, speaking to the BBC for a documentary early this week, said the Russian leader had threatened him with a missile strike that would “only take a minute.” The Kremlin said Johnson was lying.
Scholz said the conversations he had with Putin made it clear they had very different views of the war in Ukraine, which Russia calls a “special military operation.”
“I make it very clear to Putin that Russia has sole responsibility for the war,” Scholz said.
“Russia has invaded its neighbour for no reason, in order to take parts of Ukraine or the whole country under its control,” Scholz said.
Because it was Germany’s view that Russia’s actions violated Europe’s peace framework, it was providing Ukraine with financial, humanitarian and military help, he said.
There is an agreement with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that weapons supplied by the West must only be used on Ukrainian and not on Russian territory, Scholz said.
“We have a consensus on that,” he said.
Putin casts the military operation in Ukraine as a fight to “disarm” his neighbour, a fellow former Soviet republic, and defend Russia against an aggressive West. Ukraine and the West call it an illegal war to expand Russian territory.
Putin this week evoked the spirit of the Soviet army that defeated Nazi German forces at Stalingrad 80 years ago to declare that Russia would defeat a Ukraine supposedly in the grip of a new incarnation of Nazism.
Amid mounting international pressure last month, the German government announced the planned delivery of modern Leopard 2 tanks from army stocks. Scholz said any arms delivery was carefully coordinated with western allies, to avoid further escalations.