No heavy weapons yet
Melnyk accuses Scholz of playing for time
05/20/2022 01:44 am
The federal government has promised Ukraine 50 Gepard tanks and seven self-propelled howitzers. It is still unclear when the heavy weapons will be delivered, nothing has arrived so far. The Ukrainian Ambassador Melnyk suspects a deliberate delaying tactic.
Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk has again accused Chancellor Olaf Scholz of being hesitant to deliver heavy weapons. “We have the impression that the Chancellor does not want to deliver,” Melnyk told the editorial network Germany (RND). According to the report, when asked whether Germany was playing for time, Melnyk replied: “It looks like it. You can get the impression that you’re waiting until there is a ceasefire. Then the pressure from Germany will be gone and then none will be needed courageous decisions are made more.”
So far, neither Cheetah tanks, nor Leopard 1 or Marder have been delivered, the ambassador criticized. The announced exchange of rings with T-72 tanks for the Ukraine from Slovenia has also not worked out so far.
So far, the federal government has given the go-ahead for 50 decommissioned Gepard anti-aircraft tanks and seven Panzerhaubitz 2000 – heavy artillery pieces from the Bundeswehr stocks. It is unclear when the first howitzers will be delivered. Scholz said on Monday that he expected the Gepard tanks to be ready “relatively quickly”. However, he pointed out that ammunition was still being sought abroad. The defense policy spokesman for the Union faction, the CSU politician Florian Hahn, told the “Bild” that one had to ask oneself whether the cheetah announcement “was just a bluff”.
Melnyk complains about staying away from Kyiv
The federal government has also received other applications from industry, about which no decision has yet been made. Rheinmetall has offered to supply 88 used but refurbished Leopard 1 main battle tanks and 100 Marder infantry fighting vehicles. On Wednesday, however, Berlin announced that it would make 15 Leopard 2 tanks available to the Czech Republic in a so-called ring exchange in order to offset deliveries of heavy weapons from the NATO partner to Ukraine.
Melnyk again criticized the fact that Scholz has not traveled to Kyiv since the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. “The fact that the head of government of a state that describes itself as a great friend of Ukraine does not want to travel to Kyiv bothers and irritates us,” he said. “This incomprehensible reluctance alone is also a certain signal, and a wrong one at that.” Scholz made it clear on RTL on Monday that he only wanted to travel to Kyiv if specific things had to be settled. He said: “I’m not going to join a group of people who do something for a short in and out with a photo shoot. But when they do, it’s always about very specific things.”