Biden and German Chancellor Scholz hold crunch meeting on Ukraine

Biden and German Chancellor Scholz set for crunch White House meeting for talks on threats of China arming Russia and Republicans threatening to audit all US weapons sent to Ukraine

  • Two men will sit down in Oval Office for private meeting Friday
  • Will discuss their recent meetings with Zelensky
  • Zelensky wants more Western weapons amid worries China will arm Russia 

President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will discuss the war in Ukraine during a closed-door meeting at the White House on Friday that comes as China considers arming Russia and Republicans push back on U.S. assistance to the embattled nation.

The two leaders also will discuss the meetings each man had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – Biden when he traveled to Kyiv two weeks ago and Scholz when Zelensky traveled to Paris in early February – an dhis requests for more military aid.

Zelensky is pressuring the West for more powerful weapons as he prepares for a spring counteroffensive against Russia.

‘The overarching purpose of this meeting was a chance for the two leaders to be able to coordinate specifically on Ukraine,’ a senior administration official said.

Zelenksy’s weapon request comes amid concern China will arm Russia with artillery and drones  to help its invasion, giving Moscow much needed supplies as it faces equipment shortages.

President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet in the Oval Office on Friday – above the two men together at the G7 summit in Germany

White House spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. doesn’t believe that China has made a decision to send weapons to Russia, ‘but we don’t believe they’ve taken it off the table.’

The U.S. has raised its concerns with China and warned that sending weapons to Russia is ‘not in their best interests,’ Kirby said at Thursday’s White House press briefing.

He also said the United States will announce another round of military assistance for the Ukraine on Friday that will involve ‘ammunitions and munitions that the Ukrainians will need for the systems that they already have, like the HIMARS and the artillery.’

But questions have been raised about what else is on the agenda given the quiet nature of the trip: Scholz is bringing no traveling press with him, the two leaders won’t hold a joint news conference and the Germans announced the trip in a one line release. 

The two men are scheduled to meet in the Oval Office for about an hour, which includes some private one-on-one time. 

There sitdown comes as concerns grow in Europe about how long a united front of support will stand for Ukraine particularly with the upcoming presidential election in the United States and Republicans pushing to cut back on American assistance.

Additionally, House Republicans have promised to scrutinize and audit the more than $112 billion in military and economic aid that the Democrat-controlled Congress approved last year.

Ukrainian service members fire a shell from a towed howitzer FH-70 at the front line with Russia

Olaf Scholz was last at the White House in February 2022 (above) right after he became chancellor and before Russia invaded Ukraine

Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has pushed for an audit U.S. military and economic aid for Ukraine – a move that has a lot of GOP support.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the U.S. has sent a wide range of weapons systems across the pond, including hundreds of anti-tank missiles, kamikaze drones and various anti-armor munitions.

There are also signs that Western allies are growing wary about sending more money to Ukraine amid worries their populations are losing interest in the conflict.

Washington and its allies pressured Germany to deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine – a move Scholz agreed to after the U.S. pledged to send its Abrams tanks despite concerns from the American military the sophisticated weapons may not be much use to the Ukraine due to their maintenance needs and intense training to operate them.

Biden ultimately sent 31 Abrams tanks, and Germany agreed to deliver 14 of its Leopard 2s. 

‘We wanted to make sure we were all together,’ Biden said at the time. 

President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will discuss their recent meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – Biden (above left) during his trip to Kyiv a few weeks ago and Scholz (above right) with Franch President Emmanuel Macron when Zelensky was in Paris in early February

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan suggested Biden sent the hardware to placate the Germans.

“In the interest of alliance unity, and to ensure that Ukraine got what it wanted, despite the fact that the Abrams aren’t the tool they need, the president said, OK, I’m going to be the leader of the free world. I will send Abrams down the road if you send Leopards now,” Sullivan told ABC News. “And this is actually an example of Joe Biden rallying the global coalition to get Ukraine what it needs.”

Biden and Scholz last met at the White House in February of 2022, shortly after Scholz took office as chancellor and before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. They have met in Europe since then – usually at meetings of NATO and G7/G20 leaders.

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