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Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann: »The Federal Chancellor must be careful not to split Europe«


The Bundestag is intensively debating the supply of tanks to Ukraine. The Union accuses Olaf Scholz of acting irresponsibly. Criticism also comes from the coalition. The SPD, on the other hand, speaks of "noise" - "substantial decisions" are imminent.

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Chancellor Olaf Scholz today in the Bundestag, when the new Defense Minister Boris Pistorius takes the oath

Photo: IMAGO / IMAGO/Political Moments

Germany is struggling with itself. Should Ukraine be supplied with main battle tanks to defend it against the Russian war of aggression?

In view of an application by the Union parties, this question was discussed in the Bundestag, some emotionally.

The deputy leader of the Union faction, Johann Wadephul, called on the government to supply main battle tanks to Ukraine.

Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 should be made available to Kyiv, because Russia is preparing for another major offensive.

Other countries like Finland, Poland or Spain wanted to deliver Leopard 2.

"Everything fails because of Germany," said Wadephul.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said he didn't want to go it alone with arms deliveries, but "the Chancellor's refusal and non-delivery is going it alone, which is wrong and irresponsible and lets Ukraine down in a crucial situation," said Wadephul.

SPD politician Dietmar Nietan accused the Union of wanting to make "a ruckus" with its application for tank deliveries, even though "substantial decisions" were imminent at the Ramstein conference of defense ministers on Friday.

He described the procedure as petty party politics.

Criticism of the AfD and the left

But support for possible Leopard deliveries could also be heard from the traffic lights.

FDP defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann warned Chancellor Scholz.

His predecessor Angela Merkel (CDU) did not reconsider relations with Russia after the Russian occupation of Crimea in 2014, but instead pushed ahead with plans for the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

That was the beginning of the division of Europe on this issue.

“And in fact the Chancellor must also be careful not to split this Europe.

We will support Ukraine together," said Strack-Zimmermann: "That can be done with a clear message to Vladimir Putin.

Anyone who wants to destroy our system will have to deal with all democrats.«

Strack-Zimmermann also called on the AfD and the left to look at the atrocities of war in Ukraine.

"Look how barbaric this war is," she said.

Dietmar Bartsch had previously called for a European peace initiative from the left.

"Your race for arms supplies hasn't brought us an inch closer to peace," said Bartsch.

Anyone who speaks out against arms deliveries is not yet a friend of Putin: "We have to get away from the military and onto the diplomatic track."

AfD politician Peter Bystron made a similar statement.

His party rejects the delivery of main battle tanks to Ukraine.

Foreign policy does not consist of tank deliveries, but of compromise and diplomacy.

Deterrence, protection, liberation

Meanwhile, defense expert Agnieszka Brugger from the Greens warned that Russia is pulling together soldiers and weapons for an offensive.

"Ukraine needs modern armored systems as soon as possible for deterrence, protection, safe transport of its own troops and liberation of the occupied territories, where people suffer from torture, murder and child kidnapping by the Russian occupiers every day," said the deputy leader of the parliamentary group greens.

It is correct that Germany is supplying Marder armored personnel carriers to the Ukraine, but the next step must now be taken.

Because armored personnel carriers would have to be used in combination with battle tanks.

Brugger accused the Union parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz of only following the logic of wanting to criticize the government "instead of struggling with shared responsibility for the difficult questions."

This Friday, the defense ministers of several dozen countries will meet at the Ramstein Air Force Base in Rhineland-Palatinate to discuss further military support for Ukraine.

The new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD), who has now been sworn in, is also present.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expects the meeting to send a signal that "more heavier weapons and more modern weapons" are available for Ukraine.

Reports of new US arms shipments to Ukraine - what about Abrams tanks?

According to media reports, the United States is putting together a new, extensive military package for Ukraine.

According to the AP news agency, it is expected to be worth up to $ 2.6 billion.

For the first time, Stryker wheeled armored personnel carriers could also be there, AP and Reuters reported.

According to the AP, the US government is expected to supply nearly a hundred of these combat vehicles, as well as at least 50 Bradley armored personnel carriers.

The exact numbers could still change in the course of the final vote, it said.

Chancellor Scholz is said to have commented on possible main battle tank deliveries in a telephone conversation with US President Joe Biden.

Scholz is said to have made it clear that Germany could only deliver if the USA in turn made Abrams main battle tanks available to Ukraine, reported the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" and the "Bild".

Biden had apparently not yet made a decision in the conversation on Tuesday.


Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2023-01-19

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