Ukraine war: Ukraine demands heavy arms deliveries – Merz: Scholz endangers the cohesion of the international community
Berlin In the debate about the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine, the country’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, demanded quick commitments from Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). “I hope that Scholz will make a positive decision,” said Kuleba on Thursday evening in the ARD “Tagesthemen”. Representatives of the Greens, FDP and Union also pushed again for the delivery of war equipment and criticized Scholz.
Arguments against a delivery of the required weapons are not valid, said Kuleba. All weapons used by the Ukrainian army on its territory are of a defensive nature. From the point of view of the foreign minister, the war could have been avoided “if Germany had allowed arms deliveries earlier”.
So far, as far as is known, Germany has mainly sent Panzerfausts, machine guns and anti-aircraft missiles as well as steel helmets to Ukraine. When asked about heavy weapons – including tanks – Scholz has so far reacted evasively.
SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich said on Thursday: “There are no easy answers, even when it comes to the delivery of heavy war equipment to Ukraine. Anyone who claims that is acting irresponsibly.”
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Mützenich went into the trip of three members of the Bundestag from the Greens, FDP and SPD to the Ukraine on Tuesday, who then spoke out in favor of further arms deliveries. Under the impression of on-site visits, “it is wrong to demand previously unprecedented decisions without having to answer for them yourself – especially since these could have far-reaching consequences for the security of our country and NATO,” explained Mützenich.
The Chairwoman of the Bundestag Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP), who had traveled to Ukraine with him, then accused Mützenich of being one of those who did not understand or did not want to understand “the need for a turning point” in their own chancellor . “Chancellor Scholz has our full support for his turning point. It is now time to lead and to lead the way together as a traffic light,” said the FDP politician.
Strack-Zimmermann dismissed fears that the Russian President might interpret the delivery of heavy weapons as entry into the war. “We are not and will not be a war party. Ukraine was attacked in violation of international law and may defend itself accordingly, and the West may support it by supplying military material,” she told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. Putin writes his own history and is therefore “unpredictable one way or the other”.
Criticism also from the Greens
The Greens politician Anton Hofreiter, who also took part in the Ukraine visit, attacked Scholz again in the “Spiegel”. “The chancellor is the problem – not only in Ukraine politics, but also in other questions of European cooperation,” said the head of the European Affairs Committee of the Bundestag. Hofreiter had already criticized RTL after the trip: “The problem is in the Chancellery.” You have to finally start delivering what Ukraine needs, and that includes heavy weapons.
Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and the Greens leadership had distanced themselves from Hofreiter’s criticism. But Habeck also appealed in the newspapers of the Funke media group (Friday): “More weapons must come. We cannot leave Ukraine alone in the war. She fights for us too. Ukraine must not lose, Putin must not win.”
>>> Read here: No visit to Ukraine, no heavy weapons: Olaf Scholz is coming under more and more pressure
When asked about the delivery of heavy weapons, Habeck also referred to “a responsibility for not becoming a target for attack. That’s the framework within which we deliver everything that’s possible.” That framework “so far doesn’t include large tanks or fighter planes,” added Habeck.
“Of course, brutalizing the war also means increasing the quantity and quality of arms deliveries. But we are discussing that with our European partners and NATO partners,” the Economics Minister continued.
CDU leader Friedrich Merz also sharply criticized the Chancellor. “With his behavior he endangers the cohesion of the entire international community towards Russia,” Merz told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (Saturday). You don’t want to know any routes, handover times and locations. “We want to know what is being delivered and, above all, why the federal government does not want to deliver available material.”
Ukraine and the German public have a right to know what Germany is doing now. “But not this constant wafting of assumptions, allegations, rumors and demands.” Regarding delivery lists that Merz, as a member of parliament, could see in the secret protection office of the Bundestag, he said: “If these lists would provide clarity, nobody would have to complain.” The CDU boss accused the federal government of carrying out an open dispute over arms deliveries.
Merz spoke out in favor of also supplying war equipment if this could only be operated after appropriate training. “Then you have to train, even outside of Ukraine. We must assume that this war will last longer and that the Ukrainian army must be fully capable of reclaiming conquered territory.”
The territorial integrity of the entire Ukraine must be restored, said Merz. “If we don’t succeed in stopping and pushing back Putin in Ukraine, then he will continue.” Then at some point the Baltic States, Poland, Moldova and other regions in Europe would be affected. “We have to stop him now.”
Clear announcement from Scholz required
The parliamentary manager of the left-wing faction, Jan Korte, demanded a word of power from Scholz in view of the debate: “The path of military intervention, which is increasing day by day, promoted in particular by the Greens and FDP” is taking on increasingly threatening proportions. Scholz must put a stop to “the Greens and the FDP’s demands for excess weapons,” he told the German Press Agency.
Representatives of the Union also spoke out in favor of further arms deliveries. The CDU defense politician Serap Güler called it “absolutely necessary and right” in the “Heilbronner Voice” to also deliver heavy war equipment. Ukraine is being brutally attacked by an aggressor and is acting on the defensive. “That’s why whatever weapons we’re delivering right now is defensive in nature.”
The SPD foreign politician Michael Roth has also spoken out in favor of comprehensive arms deliveries to Ukraine. The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag told the “Frankfurter Rundschau” (Saturday): “The Ukrainians can only defend themselves with weapons – and we should support them quickly and comprehensively.”
If Russia were to win a military victory, there would be a risk of new military conflicts in Moldova, Georgia and probably also in the western Balkans, Roth said. “That is why – and this is also in our national and European interest – Ukraine must win this terrible war.”
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