Prime Minister’s opening speech at the press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz: 8 April 2022
Joint press conference with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to welcome you Olaf to Downing Street.
The friendship between our two countries has become even more vital since Putin launched his barbaric attack on Ukraine, bringing war to our continent.
I know Britain and Germany share exactly the same sense of horror and revulsion at the brutality unleashed, including the unconscionable shelling of refugees fleeing their homes this morning.
The train station attack in eastern Ukraine shows just how far Putin’s vaunted army has sunk – at least 39 people were killed and dozens injured on a platform crowded with women and children.
Is it a war crime to indiscriminately attack civilians, and Russia’s crimes in Ukraine will not go unnoticed or unpunished.
Germany and the UK also share the exact same belief that Putin must fail in Ukraine.
This is why we are working together within the G7 to toughen our sanctions, and target all the pillars of the Russian economy, in order to cut the funds from its war machine.
The UK and EU announced new sanctions this week, and today in the UK we imposed new asset freezes and travel bans.
We will also agree on the importance of weaning ourselves off dependence on Russian gas and oil and ensuring that our energy security cannot be threatened by a rogue state.
It’s not easy for any of us, and I applaud the seismic decisions taken by Olaf’s government to steer Germany away from Russian hydrocarbons.
Today we agreed to maximize the potential of the North Sea and to collaborate on energy security and renewables, where Germany and the UK are leading the way in new technologies.
We cannot transform our respective energy systems overnight, but we also know that Putin’s war will not end overnight.
That is why Britain and Germany have joined dozens of allies in supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons. Last week the UK convened a donors’ conference which raised arms and equipment for Ukraine worth more than £1.5billion – or 2.5million items of military kit.
Today I can announce that the UK will send an additional 100 million pounds of high-quality military equipment to the Ukrainian armed forces, including more Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, which fly at three times the speed of sound, another 800 anti-tank missiles, and precision munitions, capable of lingering in the sky until aimed at their target.
We will also be sending more helmets, night vision and bulletproof vests, in addition to the 200,000 pieces of non-lethal military equipment the UK has already sent.
But Olaf and I agree that our two countries and our allies need to go further and provide more help to Ukraine. The Europe we knew barely six weeks ago no longer exists: Putin’s invasion strikes at the very foundations of our continent’s security.
But his ambition to divide us has obviously failed; on the contrary, he succeeded in uniting Europe and the entire transatlantic alliance in support of Ukraine, and in strong solidarity with each other.
Putin strengthened our resolve, sharpened our focus and forced Europe to start rearming to ensure our common security.
Britain and Germany will work together to ensure our armed forces are ready for the future, including through our joint efforts to manufacture state-of-the-art Boxer armored vehicles.
We will be holding a joint cabinet meeting between our two governments over the next year, our defense ministers will be meeting ahead of the NATO summit in June, and I look forward to joining you Olaf at Schloss Elmau for the next G7 summit.
We face the new reality created by Putin’s invasion, I know that Britain and Germany will rise to this challenge together, as passionate defenders of democracy and freedom, and both committed friends of Ukraine.