Debate on arms deliveries: “leopard” tanks for Ukraine?

Status: 04/11/2022 9:33 p.m.

Foreign Minister Baerbock has come out in favor of supplying heavy weapons to Ukraine from now on as well. There is already a concrete offer from the Rheinmetall armament group. Chancellor Scholz spoke cautiously.

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had just come out in favor of the delivery of heavy weapons when the new offer from the German arms group Rheinmetall became known. Up to 50 battle tanks are available. “The first ‘Leopard 1’ could be delivered in six weeks,” CEO of the Düsseldorf gunsmith Armin Papperger told the ‘Handelsblatt’.

The condition of the vehicles is currently being checked, Papperger said. Delivery can be made via the subsidiary Rheinmetall Italia and can be processed over a period of up to three months. According to Papperger, Ukrainian soldiers could be trained to use the “Leopard 1” in a matter of days.

The main battle tanks are old stocks from other armies. The Bundeswehr, among others, has long used the successor model “Leopard 2”, the first version of which was presented to the troops in 1979. Rheinmetall also decommissioned Marder armored personnel carriers. The Düsseldorf company had also promised to be able to deliver 70 copies within six to eight months. According to Rheinmetall, the first ten could be shipped within five weeks.

Annalena Baerbock, Federal Foreign Minister: “Ukraine needs more military equipment”

tagesschau24 10:00 a.m., April 11, 2022

Baerbock for heavy weapons

A prerequisite for such a transfer would be the approval of the federal government. So far, Germany has delivered anti-aircraft missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns to Ukraine, among others. Heavy weapons – i.e. battle tanks, fighter planes, warships or artillery pieces – were not included.

Heavy weapons must now follow – at least if the foreign minister gets her way. Baerbock said on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg that Ukraine “above all needs heavy weapons”. “It’s no longer time for excuses, it’s time for creativity and pragmatism.” Baerbock did not specify which heavy weapons could be delivered from Germany to Ukraine.

However, she marked her approval for an increase in EU military aid to 1.5 billion euros. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had suggested it.

Traffic light approval

Defense politicians from the traffic light factions want to support a delivery of the decommissioned Leopard 1 tanks. The decisive question is what Germany can contribute, the Greens’ security policy spokeswoman in the Bundestag, Sara Nanni, told the “Handelsblatt”. Using a Leopard 1 well and safely is no mean feat. “But in this case, Ukraine knows better than me if it would still help them.”

FDP parliamentary group defense policy spokesman Marcus Faber made a similar statement: “The fact is that you have to be trained a bit more intensively on the Leopard 1,” he told the newspaper. . “But if the Ukrainians want the tank, and they reported it to me, then a way must be found.”

FDP general secretary designate Bijan Djir-Saai welcomed Baerbock’s request. At ARD Capital Studio he said he very much hoped that “the device will now be made available to the Ukrainian military quickly and easily”. Should the Bundeswehr’s arms supply options be exhausted, he expects pragmatic alternatives to be sought quickly.

Scholz reserved

Chancellor Olaf Scholz was cautious. Germany has already delivered arms to the kyiv government and will continue to do so, he said. In addition, there will be other consultations within the European Union. “There will be no path alone.”

This weekend, Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk called for the immediate delivery of Leopard battle tanks, Marder infantry fighting vehicles, Panzerhaubitzen 2000 and Cobra artillery detection devices from the stocks of the Bundeswehr. “According to our analysis, all of this would be manageable for the Federal Republic without weakening national defense or obligations within NATO,” he said.

The chairwoman of the German Bundestag’s Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, proposes an arms deal with partner countries in Eastern Europe during the “Mardern”. “The Ukrainian army should first be trained on tanks. That’s why I suggest that our Eastern European partners deliver the appropriate equipment to Ukraine,” the FDP politician told the “Rheinische Post “. Equipment from old Russian stocks can be used and deployed immediately by Ukrainian soldiers.

Interview with Foreign Minister Baerbock: Ukraine needs “heavy weapons”

Annalena Baerbock, Minister of Foreign Affairs, April 11, 2022 at 11:31 a.m.

Leave a Comment