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Just another week of Olaf Scholz’s wavering policy on military support for Ukraine

28-5-2022 |

The German chancellor last month bowed to pressure and agreed to send some heavy weapons, he surprised the Ukrainians, allies and experts with his decision to provide anti-aircraft tanks, which Kyiv hadn’t asked for, while continuing to hold off on the delivery of the battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles Ukraine had been urging the West to send.

Scholz’s latest scolding came this week from Polish President Andrzej Duda, who accused the German government of breaking its promises on military support for Ukraine, which just entered its fourth month of intense fighting.

Poland has donated over 200 of its own Soviet-made tanks to Ukraine and was counting on Germany to replace them with modern German equivalents, Duda said, adding that Berlin had not honored a commitment to do so.

Even before Russia’s latest invasion, Ukraine has urged Germany, the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, to send tanks, most notably the Marder infantry fighting vehicle and the Leopard battle tank.

However, “there is an absence of political will to really do something,” Andrij Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, told POLITICO.

Berlin further argued that it could not spare any tanks from its own reserves. Yet German defense companies like Rheinmetall say that they could directly deliver decommissioned tanks from their stocks — if Scholz authorized them to do so.

Despite all the criticism, Germany promised this week to send a first set of 15 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine by the end of July, and to train Ukrainian tank crews. The Germans also pledged to provide another 15 vehicles by the end of August.

The comments by Scholz, who had already warned about the risk of a nuclear war, underline his concern that too much military support for Ukraine could spark World War III.

Source: Politico