Dispute over arms deliveries: Hofreiter and Merz sharply attack Scholz

Dispute over arms deliveries
Hofreiter and Merz attack Scholz sharply

“The chancellor is the problem”: With these words, the green politician Hofreiter attacks his colleague at the traffic lights Scholz. Its reluctance to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine has also caused other parties to shake their heads. But there are also more reserved voices.

To the debate on the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine and to the hesitant attitude of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the Green deputy of the Bundestag, Anton Hofreiter, continues. “The chancellor is the problem – not only in Ukrainian politics, but also in other issues of European cooperation,” the European politician told “Spiegel”. “Germany must assume its responsibilities in Europe – and this is where the chancellor is most important,” Hofreiter said. “Whatever European countries I am visiting at the moment, I always ask myself the question: where is Germany? “, underlined the president of the Europe commission.

Strong criticism of Scholz also came from Union faction leader Friedrich Merz. “The chancellor has big deficits in strategy and communication,” the CDU leader told “Spiegel”. “Either he doesn’t know what he wants himself or he can’t explain his goals.” Merz told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” that Scholz’s behavior endangered “the cohesion of the entire international community towards Russia”. As examples, he cited the Chancellor’s reluctance to provide arms, but also his earlier refusal to visit kyiv.

Merz demanded that it finally be clear what Germany wants to do and whether it wants to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine. “We want to know what is delivered and, above all, why the Federal Government does not want to deliver the available material,” said the CDU leader. He pointed to growing doubts about the government’s reliability.

Regarding the debate over the delivery of heavy weapons, Merz said he “entirely” agreed with Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, “there are no more excuses”. One of these excuses is that the Ukrainians cannot use the Marder infantry fighting vehicle, for example. “Then the training must take place, also outside Ukraine,” demanded the leader of the opposition. Tanks would eventually also be delivered to Ukraine from several other European countries, Merz said. In addition, the NATO Council agreed last week to support the country with additional heavy weapons. Merz also criticized Scholz for not going to Kyiv so far. “He should have been there a long time ago,” he told the “FAZ”.

Habeck also advocates more weapons

The FDP accused Scholz of hesitation. “Very rapid action is now the order of the day,” demanded defense politician Marie-Agnès Strack-Zimmermann in the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”, referring to the new large-scale Russian offensive looming in eastern Ukraine. When asked if there was a procrastinator in the Chancellery, she replied “Yes” on Deutschlandfunk.

“If Russia wins this war against Ukraine, there will be a risk of new military conflicts in Moldova, Georgia and probably also in the Western Balkans,” also argued SPD foreign policy expert Michael Roth. for greater German involvement. “The Ukrainians can only defend themselves with weapons – and we must support them quickly and comprehensively,” he told the “Frankfurter Rundschau”. Hofreiter, Strack-Zimmermann and Roth visited Ukraine a few days ago.

“More guns have to come,” Habeck said in an interview with the Funke media group. “We cannot leave Ukraine alone in the war. They are also fighting for us,” he said. However, the Minister of Economy avoided direct criticism of Scholz and remained somewhat more cautious regarding heavy weapons. Germany must not become a target itself, as this framework “does not include large tanks or combat aircraft at this time”, Habeck said.

“The old and rigid worldview has collapsed”

Green Party leader Omid Nouripour also expressed caution. Everyone in government is “very close to each other”, he said in Berlin on Thursday. Party colleague Hofreiter had already spoken out against Chancellor Scholz on Wednesday evening. “The problem is in the Chancellery,” he said on “RTL Direkt”. “Now we must finally start supplying Ukraine with what it needs, and that includes heavy weapons.” Hofreiter’s statements were “not those of Bündnis90/Die Grünen”, Nouripour reported the next day.

SPD faction leader Rolf Mützenich criticized the push for more arms deliveries. “There are no simple answers, not even when it comes to delivering heavy military equipment to Ukraine,” he said in Berlin. Strack-Zimmermann later accused Mützenich on Twitter: “He can’t accept that an old, rigid worldview has collapsed.”

Longtime Green MP and party leftist Hans-Christian Ströbele told the “Rheinische Post” that the call to create peace without arms “continues to apply in the long term”. But now Ukraine must have the possibility “to defend itself with weapons”. At the same time, he continues to advise caution with regard to arms deliveries. He was against “delivering now the heaviest offensive weapons such as tanks to Ukraine. This increases the risk of the dreaded extension of the war to NATO”.

Requests for heavy weapons deliveries also came from the CDU. Germany is on the side of Ukraine. “That is why we must also be prepared to support Ukraine with heavy weapons,” demanded defense politician Serap Güler in the “Heilbronnerstimme”. Ukraine has been calling for deliveries to Germany for weeks, including tanks.

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