Ukraine: Scholz relies on delivery of artillery and anti-aircraft defense



Will Germany supply more weapons to Ukraine? And if so, which ones? The federal government emphasizes that Germany will not go it alone with regard to battle tanks. Scholz still promises something.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) relies on military support for the Ukraine continue to artillery and anti-aircraft. On Monday in Berlin, Scholz dodged the question about the provision of Western battle tanks requested by the Ukrainian government. “The position that the German government has taken from the beginning and that will remain our position in the future remains, namely that Germany cannot go it alone,” said Scholz.

Germany has supported Ukraine very comprehensively and together with allies. “We have also delivered very efficient weapons that are making the difference in the current battle right now,” said scholz, who appeared before the press with Israeli Prime Minister Jair Lapid. Scholz named the anti-aircraft vehicle Gepard, the Panzerhaubitze 2000, multiple rocket launcher and the anti-aircraft system Iris-T.

Delivery only in consultation with allies

The federal government has emphasized that it would only decide on a possible delivery of battle tanks to Ukraine in close consultation with the allies. “The Federal Chancellor (Olaf Scholz/SPD) has said several times that there will be no going it alone, no German going it alone in this matter,” said deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann on Monday in Berlin.

At the weekend, given the partial withdrawal of Russian troops from occupied Ukrainian territory, there were renewed calls for deliveries of Leopard 2 main battle tanks Germany got loud.

Hoffmann said that the German side would of course accept it if Ukraine formulated its needs. It is assumed that this need will be militarily justified. the federal government is in constant talks with its allies about military support for Ukraine. “There is no question that Germany will continue to support Ukraine militarily in a very effective and effective manner, in close consultation with its allies.” She couldn’t give details.

Lambrecht sees no rethinking of the delivery of battle tanks

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) also distanced herself from the Ukrainian government’s demand for a delivery of Western battle tanks. At a meeting of the so-called Ukraine contact group in Ramstein last week, she spoke to her US colleague Lloyd Austin about it and did not notice any change of course, as she made clear on Monday in a discussion round of the German Society for Foreign Relations (DGAP). . “At least I didn’t have this perception that there was a rethinking in the USA,” said Lambrecht.

“No country has yet delivered western-style armored personnel carriers or main battle tanks, and we have agreed, also with our partners, that we will not go it alone by Germans,” Lambrecht said at the event. She spoke of a “constant exchange” in which Germany is sticking to agreements.

FDP and Greens insist on delivery of heavy weapons

In the coalition, the Greens and FDP in particular are pushing for the delivery of heavy weapons. “Everyone in the government knows, however, that more would be possible,” Green Party leader Omid Nouripour told the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. “There should not only be an exchange of rings, but where possible also delivered directly from the stocks of the Bundeswehr and industry.”

As part of the ring exchange, Germany is equipping its Eastern European NATO partners with Leopard battle tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, which in return are giving the Ukraine older tanks of Soviet design.

Lindner: Consider more help for Ukraine

Federal Minister of Finance and FDP leader Christian Lindner pleads for additional support from Germany for the defense of Ukraine against the Russian war of aggression. “You have to salute the bravery of the Ukrainians. We have to check every day whether we can do more to help them in this war,” Lindner wrote on Twitter on Monday. He reiterated: “Ukraine must win this war.”

The Chairwoman of the Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, appealed to Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (both SPD) to give up their reluctance to supply main battle tanks from Germany to Ukraine. “I wish the chancellor would change his line. I wish the defense minister would change her line,” said the FDP politician on Monday in the ARD “Morgenmagazin”. The delivery of the Marder armored personnel carrier and also the Leopard 2 main battle tank is required. “This is incredibly important and should happen immediately,” said Strack-Zimmerman.

The FDP defense expert Marcus Faber called for the direct delivery of Marder armored personnel carriers. “With our tanks, the liberation would progress faster and fewer Ukrainians would have to die,” he told the “Bild” newspaper. The FDP politician Johannes Vogel also called for an extended and increased delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine. “We should deliver even more heavy weapons directly to Ukraine, apart from the tough ring exchange. This includes in particular the Marder and Fuchs tanks,” said the party vice and first parliamentary director of the FDP parliamentary group on Monday of the German Press Agency in Berlin.

So far, Chancellor Scholz in particular has been reluctant to make direct deliveries – pointing out that even the major NATO partners do not want to deliver tanks directly and that Germany does not want to go it alone. Nouripour also said: “We have to move together with our allies. That is more important than the debate about individual weapon systems.”

US Ambassador: Expectations of Germany are higher

However, the US ambassador to Germany cautiously advocates more German support for Kyiv. She welcomes and admires what the Germans are doing for Ukraine, Amy Gutmann said on Sunday evening on ZDF. “Nevertheless, my expectations of Germany are even higher.” Germany wants to take on a greater leadership role here. “We hope and expect that Germany will do the same.” And: “We have to do everything we can,” she said, but when asked several times she avoided specifying whether Germany should deliver more heavy weapons.

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil at least did not close his eyes to this and emphasized the need for international coordination. “Of course we in the western alliance also have to evaluate: Do we have to deliver more weapons now? And that has to happen quickly,” he said on Sunday on ARD. “This must now be discussed among the heads of state and government in view of the demands from Ukraine, and in view of the successes that Ukraine is currently having.”

SPD leader Saskia Esken does not rule out the delivery of battle tanks to Ukraine, but insists on international coordination. “Going it alone is out of the question and it should stay that way,” she said on Monday in Braunschweig. Support for Ukraine has always changed in line with military developments in recent months. “The weapons deliveries in the first few weeks were of a different quality than those of the last few weeks. In this respect, there is a constant development,” she said.

Nouripour said: “We must focus on Ukraine’s capability needs. Right now, before winter comes, we must support Ukraine to liberate as much of its own land as possible this year.” He left open whether this should include Leopard main battle tanks. Kyiv has asked for both Leopard-2 and Marder armored personnel carriers, which the German defense industry could supply immediately; the Chancellery has not yet given the green light for this.

Secretary of Defense: Operational readiness questionable

Defense Minister Lambrecht is reluctant to deliver from Bundeswehr stocks. In the online magazine Politico, she referred to the NATO agreement to strengthen the eastern flank, which Germany takes very seriously. But: “I have to be able to move material to Lithuania. And I’ll say it again: I have a lot of equipment on paper – but when I look at the operational readiness, it looks very different.” This is due to the earlier underfunding of the Bundeswehr. However, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently considered it more important to support Ukraine than to have stockpiles of weapons in NATO countries filled as planned.

The Union is also making more pressure again. “The current development in Ukraine shows that with the necessary means, Putin’s urge to invade can be successfully repelled,” said defense policy group spokesman Florian Hahn (CSU) to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “Berlin must finally give up its reluctance and deliver more weapons.” The CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen said “Bild”: “This includes in particular tanks from the stocks of the Bundeswehr. Nowhere else are they currently used to restore peace.”

dpa



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