Coalition dispute in Germany escalates

Coalition dispute in Germany escalates

Updated: 6 days, 9 hours, 15 minutes, 6 seconds ago

On Twitter, Strack-Zimmermann described Mützenich as “the symbol of all the central failures of German foreign policy”. She wrote: “His views of yesterday lead to tomorrow’s problems. He is no longer able to adapt his worldview to reality.” On Friday, Strack-Zimmermann attacked Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in the ZDF “heute journal”, which in turn triggered a violent reaction from Mützenich.

“Ms. Strack-Zimmermann and others talk us into a military conflict. The same people who are calling for going it alone with heavy battle tanks today will be screaming for planes or troops tomorrow,” said Mützenich of the dpa. “Politics in times of war in Europe are not made in the style of outrage rituals or gasping, but with clarity and reason.”

Strack-Zimmermann described the communication, especially from Scholz, on the question of tank deliveries to Ukraine as a “disaster”, because on the one hand Germany supports the Ukraine to a great extent, but the lack of a decision on the battle tanks gives a different impression. Scholz remains guilty of explanations.

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“Unfortunately, Germany just failed”

“History is looking at us, and unfortunately Germany just failed,” said the FDP politician, referring to the German government’s pending decision on the delivery of Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Kyiv.

On Friday, the allies met for a Ukraine conference at the US air base in Ramstein, at which further billions in aid for the country attacked by Russia were agreed. The new Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) announced on the sidelines of the meeting that the availability and number of Leopard tanks would be checked.

“Signal would have been correct”

“At least a signal would have been right to give the partners the green light,” said Strack-Zimmermann. By that she meant the desire of countries like Poland to deliver their own German-made Leopard-2 to Ukraine. For this you need a permit from Berlin. However, she is certain that the Leopard 2 tanks will eventually be delivered to Ukraine.

Mützenich emphasized that security policy is not limited to arms deliveries. “Close coordination with the military world power USA and the attempt to involve the rising power of order China is elementary for a resilient end to the war in Ukraine.” Scholz has lived up to both claims since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine.

“Spiegel”: Model list already in early summer

But the German government gets into further explanations. As the German news magazine “Spiegel” reported in advance on Saturday, the German Ministry of Defense has had a detailed list of various Leopard models available to the troops since early summer 2022 and which could be considered for delivery to Ukraine.

The table is classified as classified and is available to the “Spiegel”, it said. The new German defense minister, Pistorius, had announced at the US military base in Ramstein that he had commissioned a list to be drawn up of which and how many Leopard tanks could possibly be delivered to Kyiv.

According to the list available to the “Spiegel”, the German Bundeswehr has a total of 312 different Leopard 2 tanks of different series, of which 99 were for maintenance and repair work in the armaments industry in May last year, and one was already being discarded. The list therefore contains 212 Leopard 2 models under the heading “Stock Troops”. The list also shows which models would be suitable for delivery to Ukraine, writes the “Spiegel”, citing Bundeswehr insiders.

Kyiv announces Leopard training in Poland

Of course, pressure on Germany is also coming from the Ukraine, for some time the delivery of battle tanks has been demanded – this is particularly about the Leopard 2. Poland, among others, has declared its willingness to deliver. However, since the tanks come from German production, Germany must agree to a transfer. This has not happened so far.

According to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukrainian armed forces will train on Leopard 2 main battle tanks in Poland. “We will start with that and then continue,” he was quoted as saying by the Ukrainian-language US broadcaster “Voice of America”. Resnikov describes the development of the training as a breakthrough and attributes the success to Poland’s efforts.

After the meeting in Ramstein on Friday, Resnikov was optimistic that there could soon be a commitment from Germany. Reznikov tweeted a photo of himself with Germany’s new Defense Minister, Pistorius.

“Sequel follows”

In his post he thanked, among other things, the German government for the military aid and also wrote: “We had an open discussion about Leopard 2. To be continued.” According to Ukrainian media reports, other states besides Poland had also agreed to training Ukrainian soldiers on the Leopard -2 tanks to start.

Leopard 2 A7 tankLeopard 2 A7 tank

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Leopard question remains unresolved

Zelenskyj: “No alternative”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was nevertheless convinced in his evening video message on Friday that he would receive the tanks. During the talks he heard a lot of understanding for the needs of Ukraine attacked by Russia, Zelensky said. “We will have to fight for the supply of modern tanks, but every day we make it more obvious that there is no alternative to choosing tanks.”

Zelenskyy said longer-range missiles are also needed to liberate Ukrainian areas. Not everything that was talked about in Ramstein was intended for the public, said Zelenskyj. The bottom line, however, is a strengthening of Ukrainian resistance to Russian aggression.

“Think faster”

Criticism of the hesitant attitude towards the Leopard tank came from the Ukrainian political adviser Mykhailo Podoliak. The “global indecisiveness” on this issue “is killing more of our people,” said Podoliak, who also works for the presidential office in Kyiv, via Twitter. In view of statements by Germany and other countries that the supply of main battle tanks still has to be examined, Podoljak concluded his message with the words: “Think faster.”

Metsola urges ‘joint action’

Meanwhile, EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola assumes that Ukraine will also receive Leopard 2 tanks to support the war against Russia. At the meeting of the western allies at the US base in Ramstein, “further important commitments were made, and I remain optimistic about the tanks, too, since this is the logical next step,” the Maltese newspaper quoted the “Handelsblatt” as saying.

The Leopard 2 tanks are at the center of the debate “because there are a lot of them, because they are relatively easy to maintain, because many European countries have them and because Ukraine simply needs them”. It is good that the alliance partners in Ramstein have agreed on new arms deliveries. “What we urgently need, however, is leadership, unity and a common approach to the supply of Leopard 2 tanks.”

“Ukraine gets all the help it needs”

“Ukraine will get all the help it needs,” US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, said when asked by journalists in Washington whether he supported Poland’s intention to provide Ukraine with Leopard main battle tanks. A senior US official, who declined to be named, reiterated that the US maintained its stance not to send Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin praised Germany as a reliable partner despite hesitations about supplying Ukraine with Leopard 2 main battle tanks. “Yes, you are a reliable ally. They have been for a very, very long time,” Austin said Friday in Ramstein after the Ukraine Contact Group meeting.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov in Ramstein

Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

“We don’t push anybody”

The US government emphasized that each country makes sovereign decisions regarding the supply of weapons. “We don’t push anyone, and we don’t let anyone push us,” National Security Council communications director John Kirby said in Washington on Friday.

If US Secretary of Defense Austin has his way, a single weapon system will not be decisive for Ukraine’s military success. The Ukrainians had received a package with large military capabilities – including armored personnel carriers from the United States and other countries. If used properly, these tools could lead to success.

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