Scholz leaves main battle tank delivery to Ukraine open
Bundescancer Olaf Scholz on Wednesday again dodged questions about the delivery of Leopard main battle tanks to the Ukraine. When asked at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he pointed out that Germany is already the country behind the United States and Great Britain that is providing Ukraine with the most military aid. On Friday, Western defense ministers will meet as part of the so-called Ramstein format, in which the new German incumbent, Boris Pistorius, will also take part.
In a Reuters interview, the head of the Munich Security Conference, Christoph Heusgen, called for Pistorius a promise of delivery. Scholz also said in Davos that the agreement with the USA was crucial for him. One must be careful that the war does not develop into a conflict between Russia and NATO. Scholz spoke to America’s President Joe Biden on Tuesday.
In German government circles it is denied that Germany is under pressure on the issue of Leopard deliveries. At the same time, they are “quite surprised” and a little annoyed that the British government wanted to put pressure on Germany by announcing a delivery of 14 Challenger tanks. “Following the German announcement of a Patriot system and 40 infantry fighting vehicles for Ukraine, British behavior appears to be due to internal political pressure,” government sources told Reuters. “Doing this on the backs of the allies is not really helpful for the common cause.” The delivery of tanks to Ukraine is not taboo. But such questions will continue to be clarified in “transatlantic lockstep”.
That too European Parliament Scholz called on Wednesday to allow deliveries of Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine. In Strasbourg, the MPs approved a corresponding motion by the Greens with a large majority. It said literally that the European Parliament was calling on Scholz to “initiate a European consortium of relevant European countries to deliver Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine without further delay”. The text was proposed by the German Green Party politician Reinhard Bütikofer.
The fact that a head of government of an EU country is asked to do something by name in a report by the European Parliament is considered unusual – especially since the request was tabled by a member of the Greens, which is part of the federal government. The decision is a legally non-binding report.
“The pressure on the German federal government to finally allow the deliveries of Leopard 2 tanks is also growing in Europe,” said CDU foreign policy officer David McAllister (CDU). He also said that on October 6, the European Parliament voted in favor of supplying main battle tanks to Ukraine.