German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has come under fire for refusing to supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. meeting in the Ramstein format, Scholz will announce a fundamental decision to give Leopards to Ukraine. However, pressure from Western partners was not successful.
In the West, Scholz has been criticized for being indecisive about tanks and said that his government is weak for such a solution. Scholz's position obviously has a political connotation. Channel 24 journalist Alexey Pechiy analyzed what really lies behind the German chancellor's principles.
Germany is looking for the best solution for myself
From the meeting in Ramstein, everyone expected a fundamental decision on the supply of Leopards to Ukraine, but this never happened. The fact is that without the permission of Scholz, no country can supply German-made tanks to Ukraine. But the German chancellor does not give such permission.
US Senator Lindsey Graham made the most radical statement about tanks. He said that everyone was already tired of dancing around tanks, so the US should also finally change its mind about the Abrams. It is known that US President Joe Biden has repeatedly said that Ukraine will receive all the necessary assistance, but America has not yet delivered Abrams to our country. trying to find the best solution for himself. And this is already being talked about not only in Berlin, but also in Washington.
The White House said they would not put pressure on the Scholz government, because Germany is developing its own Leopard tank transfer program for Ukraine. This is also hinted at by the new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, who announced his visit to Kyiv in the coming weeks.
What lies behind Germany's indecisiveness
If we delve into the political vicissitudes of Germany, we will see that Scholz's personal political ambitions, who is trying to expand the boundaries of geopolitics, as well as a frank mess in the ranks of the Bundeswehr.
The new Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius, after the Ramstein meeting, loudly stated that Germany would not waste time and would continue close dialogue with its allies on the supply of tanks for Ukraine.
According to him, in order to be as prepared as possible for possible decisions, he instructed his team to carefully study everything, inspect the warehouses of the Bundeswehr and determine the availability of equipment for transfer to Ukraine in order not to waste time in case of a positive decision.
And then big problems begin to unfold in the Bundeswehr, which passed to Pistorius from the former minister Christina Lambrecht. The fact is that Pistorius's statement about the order to check the stocks of Leopard 2 in Germany surprised even the Germans.
Allegedly, how did it happen that the inspection of stocks of tanks in the warehouses of the Bundeswehr will begin only now, almost a year after a full-scale war and after such a time of discussions around the provision of Western tanks to Ukraine.
And here comes the nasty details about former Defense Minister Christina Lambrecht, who once bragged about handing over 5,000 helmets to Ukraine.
Business Insider learned from several Defense Ministry sources that Lambrecht allegedly ordered do not conduct an inventory of the Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 owned by the Bundeswehr. And the reason for this decision is allegedly that Lambrecht did not want to create the impression that the Germans were already ready to hand over the tanks.
Germany already knew in the summer of 2022 what kind of “Leopards” it could give Ukraine
On the other hand, now it is very easy to dump everything on the former minister. The Spiegel publication assures that the German Ministry of Defense conducted an inventory of tanks in the summer of 2022. Since the summer, it has been known that the Bundeswehr has 212 different Leopard models at its disposal. About 100 more tanks were under repair as of the beginning of the summer of 2022.
Accordingly, the Bundeswehr even provided classified information that they believe that19 Leopard-2A5 tanks, which are now used to train soldiers, are most suitable for delivery to Ukraine.
That is, the Scholz government knew back in the summer that at least 19 tanks it could give to Ukraine , and by allowing re-export, for example, from Poland and other countries, this would make it possible to create the same tank brigade for the Armed Forces already now.
However, for some reason, Scholz does not do this, and his new minister defense gives the order to recalculate the number of tanks. Looks very strange.
Berlin wants to be a leader in the issue of tanks
But here it is just necessary to pay attention to the political ambitions of Olaf Scholz , which are just invested in such a paradigm of behavior. The fact is that recently Scholz finally tried to put his program, which he calls “Zeitenwende”, that is, “new era”, into one column.
As for Ukraine, Scholz wants so that the initiative in the issue of supplying tanks would be behind himand not, for example, for the Poles. Because, they say, the tanks are German.
The German chancellor published a rather extensive column in Foreign Affairs, in which he outlined his vision for the future of Germany and Europe as a whole. The title of the column is “The Global Zeitenwende: How to Avoid a New Cold War in a Multipolar Era”.
Scholz argues that Russia's war against Ukraine ended an era. But Germany is doing everything possible to protect and strengthen the international order based on the principles of the UN Charter.
He assures that Germany, its European and international partners, for 8 years after the occupation of Crimea and part of Donbass, focused on protecting sovereignty and political independence of Ukraine and at the same time on preventing further escalation by Russia and restoring and maintaining peace in Europe.
The method was political and economic pressure on the Kremlin. Now Scholz admits that it did not work, which means he is calling on the world to fight against Putin's tyranny.
Here, Scholz's desire to show that he is supposedly the main initiator of assistance to Ukraine is revealed >, including in the issue of the supply of tanks. On the other hand, it shows that Scholz is trying to focus on himself, fearing an escalation from Russia.
Scholz wants rule changes on the export of weapons affected everyone
Scholz spoke about the new German defense strategy against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine. He mentioned that after February 24, 2022, his government allocated approximately $100 billion to better equip the German military. According to him, this decision marks the most dramatic change in German security policy since the founding of the Bundeswehr in 1955.
In simple terms, Scholz plans to create the strongest army in Europe< /strong>, and this requires the existing resources of the Bundeswehr.
On the other hand, Scholz seeks to show through this leadership that Germany is changing. In his column, he assured that “Zaitenwende” also forced his government to reconsider the decades-old principle of German arms export policy. That is, the issue of re-export of tanks is relevant.
And here Scholz also reveals the question of what kind of consensus Pistorius is talking about when he says that the issue of supply of tanks should be joint. Scholz says that ideally, not only Germany, but also other EU countries should generally change the policy and rules for the export of joint military systems. That is, the rules are the same for everyone, not just for Germany.
On what issue is Scholz ready to go against the United States
There is another purely political issue in whichScholz seeks to go against the US and some partners in Europe.He assures that the position that competition between the US and China creates bipolarity in the international order is wrong.
Scholz aims to build as warm relations with China as he does with the United States. Allegedly, the partners should come to terms with this, because even on the issue of Russia's war against Ukraine, it was during a meeting with Scholz that Chinese leader Xi Jinping said that Putin's nuclear threats are unacceptable.
So, summing up, we can state that Ukraine will receive Leopard tanks. But the Scholz government is still trying to find a formula according to which the Germans and Scholz would be the main initiators.