Ukraine Talk by Anne Will: Main battle tanks are "state-of-the-art stuff"

Federal Foreign Minister Baerbock spoke out in favor of quick deliveries of battle tanks to Ukraine under certain circumstances.

Ukraine Talk by Anne Will: Main battle tanks are "state-of-the-art stuff"

Federal Foreign Minister Baerbock spoke out in favor of quick deliveries of battle tanks to Ukraine under certain circumstances. But there could be repair problems, she said in the discussion at Anne Will. It's "not a small thing".

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock indirectly spoke out in favor of the delivery of battle tanks to Ukraine. "These battle tanks must be technically operated in such a way that they can also make a difference in combat. That's why it's so important for us that we can take this step together with our partners," the minister limited her demand on the ARD talk show Anne Will on Sunday evening. It's not about patting each other on the back and saying which weapons you've already delivered and then they don't work in combat. Baerbock: "The material breaks very quickly if it is used incorrectly. Then it has to be repaired." A plant for this is now being built on the Polish-Ukrainian border.

"That would be a completely different dimension with state-of-the-art combat and infantry fighting vehicles," says Baerbock. "That's why something like this could only work internationally." You have seen the repair problems with the already delivered self-propelled howitzers. "That's no small thing, it's about ultra-modern stuff where you - and I as Foreign Minister - don't understand the details at all."

In the subsequent round of talks, the guests of the Anne Will Show comment on Baerbock's statements. They also include ex-NATO General Egon Ramms, who presents a possible solution for rapid arms deliveries: "We still have Leopard 1 tanks at many companies. That's not so far removed from the Leopard 2. Why don't you decide to restore the tanks and deliver them to Ukraine? That would be a compromise solution." It would also have a symbolic effect for the Allies, according to Ramms. At the moment, Germany is more of a stopper. Then there might not be a repair problem. The company Rheinmetall had already offered deliveries of "Leopard 1" tanks in April, including spare parts.

Later, the presenter asked Ramms how he assessed Germany's international leadership role in the Ukraine war. The criticism of the former NATO general is devastating: "Leadership from the second row is difficult at the moment. We have to step out of the second row."

That will also happen, the SPD politician Michael Müller is sure. "We must and will grow into our leadership role." But it is correct that Germany weighs arms deliveries carefully. "Leadership also means listening to the deliberative arguments and weighting them and deciding on this basis what works and what doesn't work, what is appropriate and what helps, and how do our partners feel about it? I find it irresponsible to go it alone." But Müller is also aware that Ukraine now needs quick help. "What is undisputed is that we will continue to help," he says.

In contrast, CDU defense expert Roderich Kiesewetter criticizes the policy of the federal government. "It's about stopping the Russians and helping Ukraine." Kiesewetter demands the quick delivery of battle tanks and armored personnel carriers. This would allow the Ukrainian soldiers to be brought to the combat zones in a protected manner. "The soldiers march on foot, they are exposed to the weather conditions - and the Russian artillery." The Union supports the federal government's proposals to form a think tank to examine the possibility of supplying heavy weapons.

When it comes to arms deliveries to Ukraine, Foreign Minister Baerbock relies primarily on the exchange of rings. Above all, she wants to deliver weapons to the country that will help the Ukrainians and that are readily available. "We know how much time is of the essence," she says. "Every week counts. Every week means more suffering for the people of Ukraine. And we will prevent that."

(This article was first published on Monday, September 19, 2022.)