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German politicians criticize the blocking of tanks to Ukraine – DW – 01/21/2023

Germany has failed to show decisive support for Ukraine by postponing a decision to send state-of-the-art battle tanks to the war-torn country, a senior German politician has said. coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP).

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the German parliament’s defense committee, made the comments after Western leaders failed to reach a consensus on the supply of German-made Leopard-2 tanks during talks in Ramstein, Germany.

Kyiv says the new equipment will allow the Ukrainian army to increase its firepower for a possible spring offensive against Russian forces.

“History is watching us and Germany has unfortunately just failed,” Strack-Zimmermann told public broadcaster ZDF on Friday evening.

“At the very least, it would have been right to give our partners the green light,” she added, referring to the willingness of countries like Poland to supply the Leopard directly to Ukraine – a decision that requires approval from Berlin.

Strack-Zimmermann said Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s communication on the tank delivery issue had been a “disaster”.

On the one hand, Germany overwhelmingly supports Ukraine, but the absence of a decision to deliver the battle tanks gave a different impression, she added.

The FDP politician said Russian President Vladimir Putin would likely laugh at Germany’s indecisiveness.

FDP politicians Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann in Stuttgart on January 6, 2023
Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann is Chair of the Bundestag Defense CommitteeImage: Jens Krick/Flashpic/picture alliance

Other German lawmakers intervene

Roderich Kiesewetter, the foreign affairs expert for the center-right Christian Democratic Party (CDU), spoke of serious damage to Germany’s foreign policy due to the lack of a decision.

“Germany has done Ukraine and its own future position a disservice,” he said. General of Augsburg log.

Kiesewetter said he was left speechless that Berlin had only just ordered an inventory of Bundeswehr tanks, saying doing so a year after the Russian war broke out in Ukraine was “embarrassing and scary”.

Robin Wagener, an eco-friendly Green Party politician and chairman of the German-Ukrainian parliamentary group, agreed the tank inventory was “overdue” but a “good step”.

Rolf Mützenich, leader of the centre-left Social Democrats parliamentary group, said it was necessary to act in unison with the United States.

“It is important that we always take important steps together,” Mützenich told the News from Stuttgart log. “Together is above all with the United States.”

Tanks not agreed, but hope remains

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What was the outcome of the Ramstein talks?

The US-led meeting of about 50 Ukraine allies failed to reach a decision on a quick shipment of German Leopard-2 main battle tanks to Ukraine.

Despite repeated calls for new military hardware from Kyiv, the German government is wary of sudden moves that could cause Moscow to escalate the conflict further.

According to media reports, senior US officials present at the talks advised Kyiv not to launch a major offensive against Russian forces.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said he could not say when there would be a decision on tanks, but Berlin was ready to “act quickly” if there was consensus among the allies.

“All the pros and cons have to be weighed very carefully,” Pistorius added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the group in a video address to “speed up” arms deliveries and stressed that the German Leopard tank was a primary need.

“Every day we are showing more clearly that there is no alternative, that a decision regarding the tanks must be made,” he said.

The lack of an agreement will not prevent Ukrainian forces from training on Leopard-2 main battle tanks in Poland, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said.

The allies have, however, approved billions of dollars worth of military equipment, including many armored vehicles and munitions needed to repel Russian forces.

mm/fb (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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