An view of the postponed decision on the delivery of German battle tanks to Ukraine, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius called on to examine further German aid. Pistorius (SPD) has his full support as finance minister, said the FDP politician on Saturday at the state party conference of the NRW-FDP in Bielefeld. “But a new defense minister is also a new opportunity for Germany to examine what else we can do to help Ukraine in its fight for peace and freedom.” However, Lindner did not say specifically what help he meant.
The bravery of the people in the Ukrainewho defended their freedom, but also “all the values that are sacred to us” were impressive, said Lindner. This bravery must be the benchmark “by which we have to measure ourselves”.
“History looks to us”
Despite considerable pressure from Ukraine and allies, the German government has not yet decided on the delivery of Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Russia-invaded Ukraine. However, Germany is preparing for this by checking the availability and number of these tanks Pistorius said on Friday on the sidelines of the Ukraine conference at the US Ramstein Air Force Base. The decision on a delivery will be made “as soon as possible”.
Lindner said the Russian President Wladimir Putin misjudged myself in the Ukraine and was also wrong in the western democracies. Putin has weaponized gas and calculated that solidarity with Ukraine will diminish if prosperity is threatened. “He speculated that the economic advantage could be more important to us than our own values, than the commitment to human rights and international law.” But Putin was “thank God wrong about the liberal democracies of the West.”
The postponed decision had previously led to harsh criticism even within the traffic light coalition. The Chair of the Defense Committee, Marie Agnes Strack Zimmermann (FDP), said on Friday evening in the ZDF “heute journal”: “History is looking at us, and unfortunately Germany has just failed.” On the one hand, Germany is giving Ukraine massive support, but the lack of a decision on battle tanks gives a different impression. Scholz remains guilty of explanations.
“At least a signal would have been right to give the partners the green light,” said Strack-Zimmermann. By that she meant the desire of countries like Poland to deliver their own German-made Leopard-2 to Ukraine. For this they need a permit from Berlin. From their point of view, Pistorius is “on the chain”, said Strack-Zimmermann. However, she is certain that the Leopard 2 tanks will eventually be delivered to Ukraine.
Also the green Bundestag vice-presidents Katrin Goering-Eckardt showed disappointment. “I would have wished that the German government had already cleared the way for the delivery of Leopard tanks this week,” she told the Funke media group (Sunday). “These are urgently needed in Ukraine. Ukraine is not only defending its own country, but also our freedom.”
SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich sharply rejected Strack-Zimmermann’s criticism. “Ms. Strack-Zimmermann and others talk us into a military conflict. The same people who are calling for going it alone with heavy battle tanks today will be screaming for planes or troops tomorrow,” said Mützenich on Saturday of the German Press Agency. “Politics in times of war in Europe are not made in the style of outrage rituals or gasping, but with clarity and reason.”