Germany is now supplying battle tanks to Ukraine, along with other countries. However, these and other weapons that have been handed over create gaps in the Bundeswehr. The Ministry of Defense wants to take countermeasures.
The Federal Government wants to close the gaps in the Bundeswehr caused by arms deliveries to Ukraine as quickly as possible. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) announced talks with the armaments industry that could possibly take place next week. At the same time, the SPD and the Union are making demands for better coordination of armaments production in Europe.
The federal government announced on Wednesday that it would be supplying Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine, and other countries now also want to deliver German-made tanks of this kind. German deliveries to date include the Patriot anti-aircraft system, Gepard anti-aircraft tanks and the Iris-T anti-aircraft system. Pistorius announced last week that arms and equipment worth a billion euros would be delivered to Ukraine in the spring. This increases the total amount of German military aid since the beginning of the war to 3.3 billion euros.
“Need more armaments industry in Germany”
Pistorius said in the ARD “Tagesthemen” that the gaps caused by the delivery of weapons to Ukraine would add to the replacement deficits that had “heaped up properly” in recent years. “We are now doing everything we can to ensure that things are quickly replenished,” emphasized the minister. He wants to hold talks with the armaments industry very soon, probably as early as next week. Pistorius added: “We need more armaments industry in Germany, but, I think, also in concert in Europe.”
The SPD defense expert Wolfgang Hellmich encouraged Pistorius in his approach. “We have to get together with the armaments industry very quickly to go into production on the replacement for the Leopard tanks,” said the defense policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group in the German editorial network (RND). “We have to come together with start-up financing and long-term purchase guarantees because our country’s security requires it.”
The defense policy spokesman for the Union faction, Florian Hahn, called it “fundamentally important for Germany’s defense capability to immediately procure Leopard tanks, ammunition and everything else that the Bundeswehr had to give up”. In the “Augsburger Allgemeine”, the CSU politician called for a long-term support strategy that the manufacturers could also adapt to.
Scholz criticizes previous ministers
In this context, Chancellor Olaf Scholz criticized former Union defense ministers for making mistakes. “In many cases, the productions have to be re-established,” said the SPD politician on the ZDF program “What now, Mr. Scholz”. There are not enough spare parts or ammunition for many weapons. There is no constant production in interaction with industry. “Something like that shouldn’t happen to us in the future.” Now the Bundeswehr must be equipped in the next few years so that it is capable of defending the country.
The chairman of the European People’s Party (EPP), Manfred Weber, called for a reorganization of European armaments production. “The European states are currently not in a position to provide the necessary armaments quickly enough, neither for our own defense nor for Ukraine,” complained the CSU deputy in the newspapers of the Funke media group. What is needed is “a kind of war economy in the EU in order to be able to guarantee stability and security”. Weber called on the EU Commission to “develop common standards for the production and export of weapons and ammunition”.
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