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Debate on tank deliveries: Klingbeil: “It is important to prevent a third world war”

Debate about tank deliveries
Klingbeil: “It is important to prevent a third world war”

Germany, together with other Western countries, must stand united behind Ukraine, says the SPD chairman. In this context, unity also means not daring to go it alone when it comes to arms deliveries. Klingbeil rates the escalation potential of the war as high.

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil has assured Ukraine of support even after the partial Russian mobilization and at the same time warned of a dramatic escalation. “We will continue to consistently support Ukraine. At the same time, it is clear that a third world war must be prevented,” Klingbeil told the editorial network Germany (RND). The well-coordinated action of the West is important in this situation. Also as a signal to Putin that unity in the western alliance is and will remain intact.

On the debate about the delivery of other heavy weapons such as the Leopard 2 tank, Klingbeil said: “After the start of the Russian war of aggression, Germany broke with a decades-old taboo: namely that we do not deliver weapons to war zones.” Ukraine’s current successes have largely to do with support from the western alliance. “The Panzerhaubitze 2000 delivered by Germany is one of the most successful weapon systems used in the Ukraine,” emphasized Klingbeil. It sticks to what Germany did from the beginning of this war: “We will continue to coordinate with our partners on a daily basis what the next steps are to help Ukraine.”

Klingbeil also pointed out that Germany was not rushing forward on the issue of arms deliveries, but was coordinating with its allies. He continued: “Putin is a war criminal, he launched a brutal war of aggression. The partial Russian mobilization shows how much pressure Putin has come under. We won’t let that deter us.”

Klingbeil also questioned the gas surcharge and described the nationalization of Uniper as the better way. “There has never been a federal government that had to make so many serious decisions from day one. In such a situation, a government also needs the strength to rethink and correct paths,” said Klingbeil. That has now happened at Uniper. “I support the path that Robert Habeck suggested here. But I’ll also say clearly: the gas levy should now be put to the test,” emphasized the SPD leader.

Strong criticism of Weber

In the SPD, there were concerns from the outset about the instrument of the gas levy. The goal behind it is and remains correct. “It’s about supporting the gas supply infrastructure. Uniper must be stabilized as an important supplier for the public utility company,” explained Klingbeil. But that has to be fair. “It has now turned out that nationalizing Uniper is the better way.”

Klingbeil sharply criticized the CSU politician Manfred Weber for his support of Forza Italia, the party of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and warned the Union against making itself the “stirrup holder of the right in Europe”. “I would have expected Friedrich Merz to clearly distance himself from the right-wing populists in Italy,” Klingbeil continued. But that didn’t happen: His EPP boss Manfred Weber is campaigning in Italy with the Berlusconi party and thus with the right-wing alliance. Klingbeil added: “There should have been a clear stop sign from the conservatives in Germany. The Union must not become the stirrup holder of the right in Europe, as we are currently observing with the conservatives in Sweden.”

Italy votes next Sunday. The danger that right-wing populists will lead the government in Italy is real, said Klingbeil. But he is also counting on many voters making different decisions in the last few meters. “Unfortunately, there is a trend in many countries that there is only one promising candidate from the middle of the democratic elections against right-wing and left-wing populists.” In Italy, that is Enrico Letta, who is fighting against the neo-fascist Giorgia Meloni.

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