Debate about German arms deliveries: red flag for main battle tanks

The Ministry of Defense still does not want to deliver battle tanks to Ukraine - with questionable arguments.

Man with a red flag faces a Gepard tank during a target practice in Schleswig-Holstein.  This has already been delivered to Ukraine

Some make it through: the Gepard tank, unlike the Leopard, has already been delivered Photo: Steffen Kugler/dpa

Christine Lambrecht didn't rest at the weekend. Together with Inspector General Eberhard Zorn, the top German soldier, she went through the Bundeswehr's inventory again. Aren't there more tanks that Germany could give up? "There will be further support for Ukraine," reported the defense minister on Monday in Berlin in a keynote address on security policy about the result of her inventory.

But: The Bundeswehr had already "reached the limits" when it came to handing over weapons. Enough material must also be left over for the defense of the alliance within NATO and for the training of our own soldiers.

And: still have no western country Armored personnel carriers or main battle tanks delivered to Ukraine. It has also been agreed with the partner countries "that we will not go it alone by Germans". The Ukraine can therefore still not expect Leopard or Marder tanks from Germany.

It is the preliminary cancellation of an old debate that was boiled up again over the weekend. the massive successes of the Ukrainian army in the Kharkiv region have fueled calls for more arms supplies from the West. The counter-argument that Ukraine can hardly reconquer occupied territories and that supplying arms would at most prolong the war seems to have been refuted.

Team argument obsolete?

Accordingly, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba emphatically called for more German help when his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock visited Kyiv on Saturday. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made it clear that he currently finds Ukraine's defeat more problematic than gaps in the arsenals of NATO countries.

And a report from Süddeutsche Zeitung According to reports, the US government is considering donating its own battle tanks to Ukraine in the future. The main argument of the federal government, not wanting to break away from the alliance, would then be invalid.

But Lambrecht says: When various Western defense ministers met in Ramstein last week to coordinate further arms deliveries, she heard nothing of the sort from her US counterpart. And even NATO boss Stoltenberg didn't understand that it didn't matter whether Germany still had enough tanks in the future to meet the alliance's obligations.

Such statements by Lambrecht and other SPD politicians meet with little understanding among the coalition partners. Foreign Minister Baerbock also avoided making any commitments to a substantial change in Germany's line during her visit to Kiev on Saturday. But that probably had mainly to do with the fact that she didn't want to annoy the social democrats with a public discussion and push them into the defiant corner.

Print from the yellow-green corner

Greens from the second row are more offensive. "More guns for Ukraine means less torture and rape and more civilians saved," the newspaper wrote on Monday Member of the Bundestag Jamila Schäfer on Twitter and thus summed up the mood in the party well.

The FDP sees it similarly. Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann says: "Germany must immediately contribute its part to the successes of the Ukraine." This includes the delivery of Marder and Leopard tanks.

If a Jamaican coalition were in power in Berlin, that would probably have happened a long time ago. CDU leader Friedrich Merz reaffirmed the support of the Union at the federal party conference at the weekend. "Together with the FDP and the Greens, I would have issued an export permit for 100 Marder armored personnel carriers for the Ukraine," he said.

However, the SPD remains skeptical beyond Defense Minister Lambrecht, both with regard to further deliveries from Bundeswehr and industrial stocks. "I think it's simply wrong for Germany to play a pioneering role in the military sector," Ralf Stegner, a member of the Bundestag, told the taz.

use momentum

The following applies to military aid: team play with the allies. In his opinion, however, the debate is currently being narrowed far too much to this military aid. "I don't share the belief that Russia can be brought to its knees militarily," says Stegner. "This war must ultimately end at the negotiating table."

However, there are also MPs in the SPD who see things differently - for example Michael Roth. The war is just entering a decisive phase in which it is important to act quickly, said the chairman of the foreign affairs committee to the taz.

The war is entering a decisive phase in which it is important to act quickly and use the military momentum for Ukraine, said the chairman of the foreign affairs committee, Michael Roth, to the taz. Basically, it is right to coordinate closely with the allies.

"I now expect that the USA, Germany, France and Poland will clarify very quickly how, given the new situation in which Ukraine has a realistic chance of winning this war, it is possible to provide the country with the weapons that it now takes to liberate areas occupied by Russia.” This also includes armored personnel carriers and main battle tanks.

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