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War against Ukraine: Greens and FDP urge Scholz to deliver main battle tanks

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There remains a major contentious issue in the traffic light coalition: the issue of supplying main battle tanks to Ukraine. Politicians from the Greens and FDP are in favor – but the Chancellery is still holding back.

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Politicians from the Greens and FDP continue to urge Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to deliver battle tanks to Ukraine.

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The chairman of the Europe Committee in the Bundestag, Anton Hofreiter (Greens) told the newspapers of the Funke media group: “Of course it’s not just about Leopard 2, but this is a crucial support that Germany can offer.” Training of Ukrainian soldiers on the Leopard must begin “right now” so that there are no further delays. FDP defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann had previously publicly attacked the Chancellor in the dispute over the battle tanks.

At the Ukraine conference in Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate on Friday, Germany had not yet decided to deliver battle tanks to the war zone, despite considerable pressure from its allies. The red-green-yellow federal government has not yet issued any delivery permits to other countries for tanks produced in Germany. Hofreiter said: “Germany made a serious mistake in Ramstein and lost their reputation as a result. That must now be corrected quickly.”

US President Biden is also hesitant

However, US President Joe Biden was just as hesitant as Scholz in Ramstein. The US tanks would first have to be transported across the Atlantic, the maintenance was more complex and they consumed too much fuel, the Americans explained. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also announced no battle tank delivery on Friday. In the debate on arms deliveries, Scholz repeatedly emphasized that Germany would not go it alone, but would always coordinate important steps closely with its partners – especially with the USA and France.

But Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) was also disappointed. “I would have wished that the German government had already cleared the way for the delivery of Leopard tanks this week,” she told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Sunday). “These are urgently needed in Ukraine. Ukraine is not only defending its own country, but also our freedom.”

Strack-Zimmermann demands an explanation

The chairman of the defense committee in the Bundestag, Strack-Zimmermann, told Tagesschau24 on Saturday: “If you don’t want to deliver Leopard 2, then you have to explain why. Then you have to explain why to Ukraine.” She said: “The discussion about the Leopard 2 does not reflect well on us, because of course the western world expects Germany to lead.” This expectation is actually a compliment. “And we’re despondent. We’re always behind the wave. So we always wait for something to happen. Germany waits, the Federal Chancellery waits until the pressure increases, and then you sort of get going.”

SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich rejected the FDP politician’s criticism of Scholz on Saturday and explained: “Politics in times of war in Europe are not made in the style of outrage rituals or with gasping, but with clarity and reason.”

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) told the “Bild am Sonntag” when asked when the decision on Leopard tanks for Ukraine would be made: “We are in very close dialogue with our international partners, especially with the USA Question.” In order to be well prepared for possible decisions, he instructed his house on Friday to “check everything so that we don’t lose time unnecessarily if the worst comes to the worst”. In the interview, he also announced that he wanted to travel to Ukraine as soon as possible, “probably even within the next four weeks”.

Pistorius took office on Thursday after Christine Lambrecht resigned as head of department.

Source: Stern

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