war against Ukraine
Battle tank deliveries are already putting Pistorius under pressure
Cold start for the designated Defense Minister Boris Pistorius: It is already a question of whether Germany will deliver battle tanks to Ukraine. Because from there, the calls for help are getting louder and louder.
The new Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius (SPD), was under heavy pressure immediately after his nomination Ukraine to implement the required battle tank deliveries.
Green parliamentary group leader Agnieszka Brugger told the media company Table.Media: “Anyone who can agree to the delivery of martens can also deliver Leopard tanks.” Significant demands came directly from the Ukraine Pistorius.
The former Interior Minister of Lower Saxony is to be sworn in in the Bundestag on Thursday and the next day to attend a meeting of the US-led “Contact Group for the Defense of Ukraine” at the US Ramstein Air Force base in Rhineland-Palatinate. There, the western allies want to discuss further military support for the country attacked by Russia. This also raises the thorny question of whether Leopard 2 battle tanks should be delivered. Germany plays a key role because the tanks are produced here and the federal government therefore has to approve every export to other countries.
US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had called each other again on Tuesday and talked about support for Ukraine, as the White House later announced. According to federal government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, Scholz and Biden agreed that this support must be “effective, sustainable and closely coordinated.” Most recently, Biden and Scholz had agreed to supply armored personnel carriers to Ukraine.
previously had scholz In an English-language interview with the Bloomberg news agency, he reiterated his previous positions on the issue of arms deliveries: “We will support Ukraine for as long as it is necessary, with all the means we can use.” He also reiterated his reservation that NATO allies must avoid being drawn into a direct conflict with Russia. With a view to further arms deliveries, he said: “We never go alone, because that is necessary in a very difficult situation like this.”
The head of the Munich Security Conference, Christoph Heusgen, advocates Germany supplying Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. Many partners, such as Great Britain or Poland, wanted to deliver battle tanks to Ukraine themselves and were in favor of Germany doing the same, Heusgen told the ZDF “heute journal update” on Tuesday evening. “We have to lead the way there. And we now have to deliver the Leopard 2 in a convoy.” Chancellor Scholz has tried several times to “get Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to give in”. Now is the time to show toughness.
Loud calls for battle tanks also came from the Ukraine. Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk told the news portal “t-online” that he expected Pistorius to act “much more decisively and quickly” than his predecessor Christine Lambrecht (SPD). Germany must deliver “battle tanks, fighter jets, warships, multiple rocket launchers, artillery, anti-aircraft defense and of course sufficient ammunition”.
Wladimir Klitschko, brother of Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko, wrote to Pistorius on Twitter: “We in Ukraine are counting on you being serious about the sentence: ‘Ukraine must win this war!’ we now have one thing above all: Leopard II tanks!”. The Ambassador of Ukraine in Germany, Oleksii Makeiev, joined the demand in “Münchner Merkur” (Wednesday) and criticized that Germany apparently does not have a long-term strategy for deliveries, but “always only thinks from day to day”.
The former Bundeswehr General Hans-Lothar Domröse expects that the restraint in Berlin will give up. “I expect that the federal government will make the commitment to deliver Leopard main battle tanks at the meeting of Ukraine supporters on Friday in Ramstein,” Domröse told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “I assume that they will not only allow the European partners to send the battle tanks, but also add “Leos” from the Bundeswehr’s stock – maybe in the low double-digit range.” In this way, a total of around 100 Leopard tanks could be delivered to Ukraine from Europe.
Tanks are considered important for recapturing occupied territories. The Leopard 2, on the other hand, is considered one of the most effective main battle tanks in the world. The Ukrainians want to use him to break through opposing lines in what has recently been a rather static trench warfare.