The German Chancellery’s refusal to give Ukraine tanks, which could help its Armed Forces defend the country, is incomprehensible and "frighteningly short-sighted." Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz bears full responsibility for this decision, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, the Chairwoman of the Defence Committee, emphasized.
"The situation, especially for the Ukrainian civilian population, is catastrophic. I'm so sorry for the excuses for why we can't deliver tanks. Especially when I hear that tank deliveries would mean a special provocation to Russia. We have already successfully delivered self-propelled howitzers, anti-aircraft gun tanks, artillery systems, and highly effective anti-aircraft systems to save thousands of lives", she said in an interview with RND.
Why is Scholz opposed to giving Ukraine tanks?
According to Strack-Zimmermann, Scholz and his advisors were most likely influenced by Russia’s narratives about "Putin’s red lines."
"It is Scholz's advisors who obviously steadfastly suggest to the Chancellor that battle tanks and armored personnel vehicles be blocked from Ukraine. In the end, however, the Chancellor of the Federal Republic bears responsibility. I think this refusal is a big mistake," she pointed out.
The Chairwoman of the Defense Committee is sorry for the wasted time, which could have been used to do so much for Ukraine.
Does Ukraine have any chance to receive German Leopards?
Strack-Zimmermann doesn’t lose hope and promises to keep negotiating with the Chancellery together with her colleagues on providing tanks to Ukraine.
"Ukrainian soldiers can be trained very quickly. The tanks can very quickly be moved. The European partners are very willing to make their contribution if Germany gives the green light... The U.S. also agrees to the delivery of German tanks to Ukraine. None of my Washington interlocutors said anything else. All threads come together at the Chancellor. The free western world is impatiently waiting for Germany to act," she summed up.
Context. German experts believe that Germany could give Ukraine approximately 80 tanks out of the stocks of their manufacturers, Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, and 30 more from the Bundeswehr. Moreover, the Polish army operates Leopard 2, so Ukraine could have the tanks repaired there.
Earlier this month, Frankfurter Allgemeine reported that the German government firmly refused to provide tanks to Ukraine, although asked by the U.S.