Pressure is mounting on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz over support for Ukraine. “Germany must deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine”, insisted, Friday, April 22, Johann Wadephul, deputy leader of the parliamentary group of Christian Democrats (CDU) in the Bundestag, in an interview with the ZDF channel. The Christian Democratic opposition will submit a motion to this effect to Parliament for a vote, stressing the existence of a large parliamentary majority in favor of this decision. Within the parties of the government coalition, the Greens and the Liberals of the FDP are also mostly in favour, as are a number of elected Social Democrats, such as Michael Roth, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Under the fire of criticism, the Social Democratic Chancellor Olaf Scholz denounced, Friday, April 22, “Falsified and slanderous presentations” of his party’s policy, deemed too favorable to Moscow and in the continuity of a pro-Russian tropism anchored in the history of the SPD. Several social democratic figures have been incriminated in recent weeks for their supposed complacency with Russia, in particular the head of state Frank-Walter Steinmeier, former foreign minister, and the former chancellor Gerhard Schröder who refuses to leave his multiple paid functions in large Russian companies.
→ READ. Ukraine: ex-German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, pariah in his own country
In an interview with the weekly Der SpiegelOlaf Scholz assures that his party is “solidly anchored in the transatlantic alliance and the western camp”. The possibilities of delivering other weapons from the arsenal of the Bundeswehr to kyiv “are largely exhausted”says the Chancellor. “But what can still be made available, we still deliver in any case”, he adds, referring to anti-tank weapons, anti-tank mines and artillery ammunition. Olaf Scholz also invokes the danger of a nuclear war. The head of the German government pledged on Tuesday, April 19, to help the countries of central and eastern Europe supplying kyiv with Soviet-made weapons, used by the Ukrainian army.
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht confirmed, Thursday, April 21, the delivery, “in the next few days”, to Ukraine by East European countries of battle tanks, armored vehicles and other types of equipment. In return, Berlin undertook to compensate the latter by delivering German military equipment to them. Slovenia will thus send Soviet T-72 assault tanks to kyiv, in return for German Marder type tanks and Fuchs armored personnel carriers. Christine Lambrecht also announced that Germany will train Ukrainian soldiers to use Panzerhaubitze 2000 type armored howitzers. “We cannot deliver the weapons ourselves, the Bundeswehr does not have the meansemphasizes the German Minister, but where we can help, or train, we will. »
Avoid an escalation
Germany has already delivered “defensive” weapons but refuses to deliver Leopard or Marder tanks. Berlin claims that the Bundeswher would not be able to fulfill its own commitments to NATO, nor to ensure the defense of German territory, if the government drew on its reserves. The government also hints that the supply of German tanks would be seen by Moscow as an escalation and risk triggering a hostile reaction.
→ ANALYSIS. Faced with the invasion of Ukraine, the powerless German army
The caution of the German Chancellor also arouses criticism from the Baltic countries and Central Europe. “The Germans must stand firmly with Ukraine today if they are to believe that they have learned the lessons of their own history”declared, Wednesday, April 20, Donald Tusk, former President of the European Council and former Polish Prime Minister, now President of the European People’s Party (EPP).
The question of military assistance to Ukraine will be at the heart of a meeting of defense ministers of Western countries, Tuesday, April 26, at the American base of Ramstein in Germany, at the initiative of the American secretary of defense Lloyd Austin.