Original title: Provide main battle tanks to Ukraine?German politics divided
Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, January 9th. Germany recently announced to provide a new batch of military aid to Ukraine. There are disputes in the German political circle, including the ruling coalition, over whether to provide the Leopard main battle tank to Ukraine.
An important member of the German Social Democratic Party said in an interview with the media on the 7th that he had concerns about whether to provide the Ukrainian side with the “Leopard” main battle tank.
On October 26, 2022, in Paris, France, French President Emmanuel Macron (right) greeted German Chancellor Scholz at the Elysee Palace, the presidential palace.Published by Xinhua News Agency (photo by Ritter Ess)
new batch of military aid
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with US President Joseph Biden on the 5th, and the two governments subsequently issued a joint statement announcing a new batch of military aid. The United States will provide Ukraine and the surrounding NATO “East Wing” countries with a total of up to 3.75 billion US dollars in military assistance, and Germany will provide Ukraine with 40 “Weasel” infantry fighting vehicles.
German government spokesman Steffen Heberstreiter said on the 6th that the 40 “Weasel” infantry fighting vehicles are scheduled to be delivered in the first quarter of this year, enough to equip a battalion of the Ukrainian army. The German side will provide relevant training for Ukrainian soldiers in Germany.
The US-German joint statement comes a day after France pledged to provide Ukraine with wheeled armored reconnaissance vehicles.
Workers arrange American flags at the European Union headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 24, 2022.Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Zhang Cheng
On the 6th, the Russian embassy in Germany condemned the announcement by Western countries to provide a new batch of military aid to Ukraine, arguing that this would lead to further deterioration of the situation in Ukraine. In the context of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s request for a 36-hour ceasefire during the Orthodox Christmas period on the 5th, it is “extremely ironic” that Western countries made the above-mentioned decision on the eve of the holiday.
The New York Times of the United States quoted German foreign policy analysts as reporting on the 6th that the military aid to Ukraine from the United States, Germany and France indicated that Western countries “support Ukraine’s possible offensive in the next few months” and told Russia that the West lacks the willingness to negotiate peacefully. We’re not on the peace track anytime soon.”
According to the Deutsche Presse Agency, the German government’s provision of the “Weasel” infantry fighting vehicle for the Ukrainian army represents a major policy shift. Scholz did not mention in the joint statement the provision of “Leopard” main battle tanks for Ukraine, but the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, who are in power jointly with the Social Democratic Party to which Scholz belongs, believe that Germany should provide Ukraine with more advanced heavy weapons .
On February 21, 2011, a German Leopard-2 main battle tank was photographed at the International Defense Exhibition held in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter An Jiang
German politics is divided on whether to supply Ukraine with main battle tanks. Scholz believes that Germany should not provide Ukraine with heavy weapons alone, and he will consult with NATO allies.
Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairman of the Defense Committee of the German Bundestag and a member of the Free Democrats, said in an interview that Scholz repeatedly emphasized that Russia would regard Germany’s supply of tanks to Ukraine as a “provocation”. She is “tired” of remarks that could lead to a worsening of the situation in Ukraine.
There are also differences of opinion on this issue within the Social Democratic Party. Rolf Mitzenich, chairman of the party’s parliamentary group, revealed in an interview with the media that he supports the supply of more tanks to Ukraine.
However, the co-leader of the Social Democratic Party, Lars Klingberg, said in an interview on the 7th that he has concerns about whether to provide the Ukrainian side with the “Leopard” main battle tank. “No country is supplying Ukraine with a heavy main battle tank like the Leopard 1 or Leopard 2.”
In Klingbeyer’s view, it is correct for the German government to weigh again and again on the issue of military aid to Ukraine, and it is “always important” to avoid Germany acting alone. (Bao Xuelin)