German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius appealed for the patience needed to make a decision in the debate on possible deliveries of Leopard tanks to Ukraine. He reported that it falls in the Chancellor’s Office. Steffen Hebestreit, spokesman for the German government, said that possible requests for the transfer of Leopards to Ukraine, if any, would be resolved in accordance with established procedures.
Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock made it clear on Sunday that Germany will not block deliveries of Leopard tanks from Poland. – We have not been asked this question. If we were asked about it, we would not oppose it – she said in an interview with the French LCI station.
I fully understand that tanks are very important. I am fully aware of that. And that is why we are in the process of consulting with our partners. We care about the liberation of Ukrainian territories and saving human lives, she assured.
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Pistorius: Germany must live up to its responsibilities
In turn, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius defended the decision-making process of Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “It’s not just a matter of delivering or not delivering these tanks, it’s also about considering the consequences of not taking action, but also of taking action,” Anne Will explained on Sunday evening on ARD.
As “land of the Leopards”, Germany has a special responsibility “that they have to meet”, admitted Pistorius. The Leopard is a heavy weapon that can also be used offensively, so you have to “think very carefully if you want to use it,” he added. According to Pistorius, it is in Germany’s and Europe’s interest to do so carefully and thoughtfully, and “not hastily or recklessly.”
Decisions are “made on time and this is what happens at the Chancellor’s Office” – he explained. He added that it was, among other things, about the security of Germany and not to become a party to the war, while “supporting Ukraine “A decision will be made soon”, but it depends on many factors, Pistorius announced. As he said, there are also “other countries that can contribute.”
The minister argued that Germany was among the top countries supporting Ukraine. “Systems, weapons and equipment worth €3.3 billion have already been donated,” he recalled. He added, “Just Great Britain and the United States did more.”
When asked about the announced plans to check tank stocks in the possession of the Bundeswehr, Pistorius noted that his task is “much more extensive and precise than just counting how many Leopard tanks are available and how many are available”, because this has been known since May last year.
“Now it’s all about defining operational capabilities, synchronizing and coordinating with partners and the industry to be prepared for a possible decision on the supply of Leopard tanks,” said the minister.
Government Spokesperson: There are established procedures for responding to requests
Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, asked in Berlin on Monday whether Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock spoke on behalf of the entire federal government, saying that Germany would not oppose the supply of Leopard tanks to Ukraine from other countries, did not give a precise answer, the RND portal wrote.
– I would like to put it this way: if such a request were made in Germany, which is not the case at the moment, there are established procedures for responding to such a request. And we all stick to them,” Hebestreit said, quoted by RND.
Regarding increasingly strong demands from Ukraine, as well as in Germany, for battle tanks for Ukraine, a government spokesman said: “We have passionate debates and these passions sometimes lead to exaggeration on all sides.
At the same time, he assured that “Ukraine can count on Germany” and that it is necessary to understand the statements from Kiev. “It’s literally a matter of life and death,” said Hebestreit.
Scholz “missed the chance”
Also during Sunday’s Franco-German summit in Paris, Chancellor Olaf Scholz left open the question of when it will decide to supply German tanks to Ukraine and what it will depend on. “We only work in close coordination with our partners,” he repeated.
As Tagesschau notes, in a speech in Paris on Sunday, “Scholz missed the opportunity to announce a joint proposal for further action in the coming days.” “He didn’t take advantage of this chance,” the portal wrote, noting that the fact that the chancellor did not decide to deliver the Leopards to Ukraine is met with growing criticism both in Germany and abroad.
Protests where participants demand delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine have already taken place in Berlin, among others and Brussels.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET