Ukraine demands more weapons from Germany. We now know that Scholz set up a fund of one billion dollars for arms aid. However, his background remains controversial.
Photo series with 54 images
The German government’s announcement that it would provide more money for military aid, mainly to Ukraine, was met with skepticism. It was unclear on Saturday which weapons might be available to the country when. Ukraine now needs “defense weapons as soon as possible”, CDU foreign policy expert Norbert Röttgen wrote on Twitter – “it cannot defend itself with money”.
The federal government had previously announced that it would increase its arms aid for partner countries to two billion euros this year in response to the war in Ukraine. “The funds will greatly benefit Ukraine,” Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Twitter late Friday. “The Federal Chancellor had requested this at an early stage.” The sum must be made available through the supplementary budget.
Röttgen: Armament aid is just a trick
A government spokeswoman said relevant departments had already agreed two weeks ago in principle to substantially increase funds for the so-called upgrading initiative. Last week, the sum was set at a total of two billion euros.
Röttgen viewed the increased arms aid as a trick. “It is a proposal that is not intended to help Ukraine, but the coalition to find a face-saving solution to the arms supply dispute,” he told the Germany editorial channel. . “It is claimed that there is a lot of aid. In fact, this aid requires an additional budget. And that will probably only happen in June.”
Hofreiter: “A good first step”
European Greens politician Anton Hofreiter told the ‘Welt am Sonntag’ that the increase in military aid was “a good first step”. However, the measure “cannot replace the direct delivery of weapons”.
“Anyone who still does not want to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons is working at the hands of the Russian offensive,” wrote Greens politician Ralf Fücks. “Ukraine is paying with death and destruction for our hesitation and procrastination over arms deliveries and sanctions,” he warned.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk said the announcement sounds good at first glance. However, there had been no consultations with his country on this matter. “We don’t know the scale of the new arms deliveries, nor the procedure or the time horizon,” Melnyk said angrily. There are offers for the delivery of heavy weapons from German arms companies, but no commitment from the federal government. But he hopes for “an honest and constructive dialogue”.
Kuleba: ‘I hope Scholz will take a positive decision’
In view of the expected large-scale offensive in the east of the country, Ukraine is also demanding the delivery of heavy weapons from the federal government. “I hope that Scholz will take a positive decision,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Thursday evening on the ARD “Tagesthemen”.
However, the federal government has not yet made a decision on this. The formation of the two billion pot doesn’t say anything about that either. Greens and FDP are in favor of the supply of heavy weapons, the SPD is divided. Scholz hasn’t decided yet. He stressed that the decision will be taken in consultation with the alliance partners.
Scholz’s harsh criticism
In the meantime, requests for concrete commitments for arms deliveries continue. Besides Hofreiter, FDP defense politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann and SPD foreign politician Michael Roth are pushing for heavy weapons to be made available to Ukraine. Ukraine needs “proper weapons – quickly,” Katarina Barley, an SPD European politician, told Editorial Network Germany.
North Rhine-Westphalia Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) told the Germany editorial network on Saturday that Germany had never been so isolated and apathetic in an international crisis. “The SPD as part of the traffic light close to Russia and the Chancellor in hiding isolate us in Europe and the world.”
“The federal government is losing its reputation”
Deputy leader of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Johann Wadephul, told Augsburger Allgemeine that Scholz must finally show leadership and ensure that Ukraine gets the weapons it urgently needs. The FDP and the Greens would be ready to deliver heavy weapons, Wadephul stressed and added: “If Scholz does not move, he must expect a request to do so from the CDU/CSU parliamentary group.”
The group leader of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, sees Germany’s international reputation in danger. “The federal government is losing its reputation in Europe and internationally, with long-term damage for our country,” the CSU politician told “Passauer Neue Presse”. The EU is waiting for Scholz to make decisions. “The federal government doesn’t have to convince anyone in the EU, it has to finally lead.”
Merz: “He endangers the cohesion of the entire international community”
CDU leader Friedrich Merz also strongly criticized Scholz in the arms supply debate. “By 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 the routes, transfer times and locations. “We want to know what is delivered and, above all, why the federal government does not want to deliver the available material.”
The deputy leader of the FDP parliamentary group, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, told “Bild” that it was not decisive whether Ukraine received German or non-German weapons. “What matters is that they get heavy weapons that they can use to defend their territory.” Meanwhile, Germany must secure NATO’s eastern flank and reinforce troops in the Baltic states.
Support for Scholz
The deputy leader of the SPD parliamentary group, Achim Post, rejected these allegations. “Under Olaf Scholz’s leadership, Germany is firmly rooted in cooperation and partnership with our European and international partners.” Everything else is political innuendo that has more to do with domestic political profiling than foreign policy reality.
Support for Scholz also came from longtime SPD deputy Ralf Stegner. The ‘Bild’ (Saturday) Stegner said: “I am happy that Olaf Scholz has a Chancellor who – when it comes to war and peace – acts with caution and with our allies, accepts his responsibility and does not don’t get enthusiastic interviews or requests.”
The pot for Ukraine has increased significantly
The federal government launched the upgrade initiative in 2016 to help partner countries in crisis regions to provide security themselves. The funds made available for this were used to support the armed forces, but also the police and civil protection. The first partner countries were Iraq, Jordan, Tunisia, Mali and Nigeria, followed by Burkina Faso and Niger in 2018. According to the Ministry of Defense, 350 projects have been funded to the tune of 600 million dollars. euros at the end of 2021.
Now the pot has to be increased considerably because of the war in Ukraine. Shortly after the start of the war, the German government decided to support Ukraine with arms deliveries. So far, among other things, bazookas, anti-aircraft missiles, machine guns, but also vehicles, night vision devices and protective equipment have been delivered.