Weapons deliveries to Ukraine: Scholz rejects going it alone with battle tanks

Arms deliveries to Ukraine
Scholz rejects going it alone with battle tanks

There is criticism from the opposition, but also from the governing parties: But Chancellor Scholz continues to refuse the delivery of Western battle tanks to Ukraine. He also refers to other NATO countries. But there should still be help, “also with very relevant weapons”.

In the debate about possible tank deliveries to Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz referred to deliveries of heavy weapons that had already taken place and confirmed that Germany would not go it alone. In the “Interview of the Week” of the Deutschlandfunks said the SPD politician that the federal government is doing a great deal. It was precisely the weapons that Germany had made available that “made the difference and also made the current successes that Ukraine is seeing possible.” That’s why it “makes sense that we continue there”.

Ukraine, which has been attacked by Russia, has been asking the West, and specifically Germany, for weeks to also supply Western-style battle tanks and armored personnel carriers. So far, no NATO country has delivered western-style main battle tanks to Ukraine. Scholz always emphasizes that Germany will not go it alone on this issue. However, the coalition partners FDP and Greens are open to expanding arms deliveries.

“We will not go it alone in everything we do,” said Scholz on Deutschlandfunk. Deliveries have been expanded “wisely, prudently and carefully” and coordinated with others. “I want to say this very clearly: we have supported Ukraine, we will do it, we are doing it on a very large scale and also with very relevant weapons that we are providing, and at the same time our goal remains that it will not be too of an escalation of the war between Russia and NATO.”

Criticism came, however, from the FDP defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann: “In view of the atrocities committed by Isjum, I don’t think it’s responsible to hide behind warnings about so-called ‘going it alone’ and the partner countries when exactly these partners are practically begging Germany, finally move forward,” wrote the chairwoman of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee on Twitter.

Union wants to submit an application to the Bundestag

“We have to use the momentum that the Ukrainians have literally fought for,” wrote the deputy leader of the FDP, Johannes Vogel, in a guest article for “Zeit Online”. Ukraine must win the war for its territory and thus force Putin to make peace. The task is to support Ukraine with the delivery of additional heavy weapons. “I am convinced that this expressly includes the ‘Marder’ and ‘Fuchs’ tanks.”

Bundestag Vice-President Katrin Göring-Eckardt of the Greens tweeted with regard to graves and torture sites that, according to Ukrainian information, were discovered in the recently recaptured areas: “More mass graves. Apparently torture. Still someone who wants to negotiate now? Or should we deliver something as soon as possible is necessary? Every day that we wait, people die who are also fighting for our freedom.”

The opposition is also putting pressure on the federal government. According to reports from “Spiegel” and “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung”, the Union faction wants to submit a motion for an expansion of arms aid for Ukraine in the Bundestag in the coming week. So far, Germany has supplied air and anti-tank weapons and artillery, among other things. Artillery are guns that can fire from afar at enemy positions or behind enemy lines, for example to hit ammunition depots. Self-propelled howitzers are also part of it; in contrast to fixed guns, they are mobile and their crew is protected by the armor.

Bundeswehr Association criticizes

The main battle tanks demanded by Ukraine could be used primarily for advances and the recapture of areas. They have great firepower and are built for direct combat. Infantry fighting vehicles, which are also under discussion, serve to transport soldiers as safely as possible to the combat area and to support them in combat.

The German Bundeswehr Association, representing the interests of the soldiers, was open to the delivery of armored personnel carriers to the Ukraine, but not from Bundeswehr stocks. “We understand Ukraine’s desire for heavy weapons only too well. We can imagine, for example, handing over armored personnel carriers from the stocks of the industry,” said association head André Wüstner to the editorial network Germany. From the point of view of the association, what is no longer possible is the delivery of weapons and ammunition from the Bundeswehr. “Many in the Bundeswehr fear that this policy of further cannibalization of our troops will have negative effects,” said Wüstner.

According to a media report, the federal government has now approved Ukraine’s purchase of German-made howitzers. As the “Welt am Sonntag” reported, citing documents available to it, it is about 18 examples of the RCH-155 weapon system worth 216 million euros, which Kyiv wants to order from the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) armaments company. The howitzers could therefore be delivered in two and a half years at the earliest. Spokesmen for the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Economics did not comment on the report when asked.

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