"Wasn't promised like that": Federal government sees no breach of promise when swapping tank rings

In order to get heavy weapons to the Ukraine as quickly as possible, Poland is delivering tanks to the war zone and is hoping for high-quality replacements from Germany - which, however, are not forthcoming for the time being.

"Wasn't promised like that": Federal government sees no breach of promise when swapping tank rings

In order to get heavy weapons to the Ukraine as quickly as possible, Poland is delivering tanks to the war zone and is hoping for high-quality replacements from Germany - which, however, are not forthcoming for the time being. In Berlin, people are now baffled by Polish allegations.

The federal government has rejected the Polish President's accusation of the proposed ring swap of tanks. "The federal government is amazed," said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit in Berlin. One takes note of the Polish President's criticism, "but that doesn't make it right".

The background is a dispute over the German government's proposal that the Eastern European EU and NATO partners should hand over their tanks of Soviet or Russian design to Ukraine. For this they are to receive modernized Leopard 2 tanks from Germany. Hebestreit pointed to negotiations with several Eastern European countries. However, it was not promised to deliver the most modern type of Leopard 2-A7 tanks. The Bundeswehr also only has a few copies of this version, and more are on the way. That is why an agreement was reached with the Czech Republic, for example, to supply modernized Leopard 2 tanks to replace the old Soviet-designed tanks.

On Tuesday, the foreign ministers of both countries, Annalena Baerbock and Zbiegniew Rau, emphasized that they wanted to settle the irritations on the subject. Poland's President Duda had previously said in the "Welt" that Germany had promised Poland the delivery of tanks because the government in Warsaw had delivered its own stocks to Ukraine. "They didn't deliver on that promise and frankly, we're very disappointed," Duda added.

The federal government had come under criticism for its course on arms deliveries to Ukraine. Union politicians accused her of concealing the exact procedure and of not complying with agreements with partner countries such as Poland. Criticism also came from the traffic light coalition.

"Obviously, the German government made promises to exchange rings with the Polish government, which are not being kept," said CDU leader Friedrich Merz on TV station Welt. "The federal government must now quickly clarify why it is not fulfilling the commitments it has made."

The defense policy spokeswoman for the Greens parliamentary group, Sara Nanni, criticizes the social democratic Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht on the issue. "I can understand the anger from Warsaw and I'm surprised that the defense minister didn't discuss this with the Poles in a watertight manner," she told the news portal "t-online". Apparently, Germany hadn't made it clear to Poland "that they wanted to use older equipment to close the gaps in the Polish army."

The chairwoman of the Defense Committee in the Bundestag, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann from the FDP, again campaigned for the appointment of a coordinator for arms deliveries in view of the upset with Poland. "Obviously, the Polish President also has no contact person in the Chancellery," she told Welt.

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