Ukraine: Scholz and Biden wrestle with the tank question – politics

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is according to information of Süddeutsche Zeitung apparently for the delivery of leopard-Battle tanks to Ukraine ready, but on one condition. In a telephone call with US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, he is said to have made it clear that Germany could only give in to the pressure to deliver if the USA, for its part, produced battle tanks of the type abrams delivered. Scholz has always emphasized that Germany will not go it alone when it comes to military support for Ukraine. Biden apparently did not commit himself in the conversation. It remains unclear whether this will happen before Ukraine supporters meet in Ramstein this Friday.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, Scholz was still covered. Germany delivers the Ukraine already “in coordination with our partners, weapons on a large scale – including anti-aircraft systems like Iris-T or patriotartillery pieces and armored personnel carriers,” he said. This is part of a far-reaching turning point in German foreign and security policy. In order for the war to end, “Russia’s aggression must fail,” said Chancellor Scholz Help Ukraine “financially, economically, humanitarianly and militarily” for as long as it is necessary.

Because the “Leopard” comes from Germany, the federal government has to approve every delivery

In addition to Poland, other European countries such as Lithuania had recently urged Ukraine to quickly deliver battle tanks. Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda said in Davos: “We are in a situation where a stronger commitment is needed to supply armored vehicles to Ukraine.” Representatives of several other EU countries had joined the demand, as well as the European Parliament and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

After a promise from the USA to supply armored personnel carriers, Scholz also decided to send about 40 marten-Send armored personnel carriers to Ukraine. So far, however, the USA has not announced any main battle tank deliveries. Scholz called US President Joe Biden again on Tuesday. The focus was on the question of continued support for Ukraine. “Both agreed that this support must be effective, sustainable and closely coordinated,” said the federal government with. The manufacturing company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann has around 3600 so far Leopard-2-Battle tanks made and delivered to many countries.

Since the model comes from German production, the federal government has to approve every delivery to another country. The head of the armaments group Rheinmetall, Armin Papperger, had also recently emphasized that repair and delivery of certain models could take until early 2024. However, the West is concerned that Russia could intensify its warfare again. Because of the air raids that killed dozens of people, like the one in Dnipro at the weekend, the CDU defense expert Roderich Kiesewetter had also handed over the buyback of 15 to Qatar to protect the World Cup cheetah-Anti-aircraft tanks required.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was connected via video in Davos, urged haste. Tanks and anti-aircraft systems should be delivered to Ukraine faster than the Russian attacks on his country, he said. He accused Russia of exporting terror. Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hinted on Wednesday that the war will not end soon. In Ukraine and “in any area bordering Russia, there must be no military infrastructure that threatens our state,” he said. Lavrov accused the US of wanting to enslave the rest of the world and turn it against Russia, drawing a comparison with Hitler.

The pressure on Scholz to make a quick decision is also growing in the SPD

It will be a cold start for the new Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD): This Thursday morning he will receive the certificate of appointment from Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. At 9 a.m. Pistorius is sworn in, at 9.40 a.m. the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, General Eberhard Zorn, receives the new minister in the Bendler Block. At 10:20 a.m. there will be a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The focus will be on preparing for the Ramstein conference of the western Ukraine allies on Friday, and above all on further military aid.

Pistorius was surprised when Scholz asked him to take office. The parliamentary group manager Katja Mast rejected the impression that other candidates had waved their hands. “Boris Pistorius is not my second choice, but my first choice.”

In the tank question, the pressure on Scholz is also growing in the SPD ranks. Wolfgang Hellmich, defense policy spokesman for the parliamentary group, assumes that Germany will join the allies and leopard-Main battle tank supplies.

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