What Do Germany’s “Security Guarantees” to Ukraine Mean? – In a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed “general willingness” for his country to act as a security guarantor for Ukraine. The details of the conversation were revealed by German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit during a press conference on Wednesday.
“The government spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, has acknowledged that Berlin would be willing to take that step, thus responding to the request that the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, would have transferred to the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, during a telephone conversation,” Chile’s VivePais reports.
Reuters also reported that when pressed by German reporters, Hebestreit refused to speculate what such guarantees might mean, and did not elaborate on whether Germany acting as a security guarantor would include any kind of military guarantees.
Hebestreit stressed that the German government must assess the implications of offering security guarantees to Ukraine given the country’s intention to refrain from engaging in direct military contact with Russia.
What Would a Military Guarantee Mean?
The idea of “security guarantees” without the promise of military protection is hard to interpret without more details from the German government. Guarantees may include the continued funding of Ukraine’s defense and supply of additional ammunition and weapons. Should those security guarantees enter the realm of military support, however, it would effectively drag Germany – and in turn, the rest of NATO – into a war with Russia.
Not only would military support drag Germany and NATO into war, but the idea of Ukraine having military support and guarantees from NATO was one of the driving factors behind Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the first place.
Any further agreements to act as a security guarantor for Ukraine will not only face scrutiny from NATO allies but also from the European Union’s 26 other member states given the possibly gigantic implications of making such a commitment.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.