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The British decision to supply tanks increases the pressure on Scholz

The British decision to supply tanks increases the pressure on Scholz

Leopard 2 main battle tank

© AFP

Britain’s decision to supply heavy battle tanks to Ukraine increases the pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). Politicians from the Coalition and the Union have called on the chancellor to scrap the supply of German Leopard tanks. According to the Rheinmetall Group, such tanks will not be available from industrial stocks until 2024.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Saturday that Ukraine will receive 14 Challenger 2 main battle tanks. So far, Scholz has largely justified his supply of non-combat tanks by saying that Germany should not go it alone. However, Poland and other EU and NATO countries are also ready to supply German-made Leopard tanks, for which Scholz must give the green light.

Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oleksandra Matviychuk called on the German government to refuse to supply Western battle tanks to her country. Ukrainians are “ready to fight for freedom and democracy,” he told Bild am Sonntag. “Every tank can save lives, every hesitation brings death every day,” warned the head of the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties (CCL).

Anton Hofreiter, a European politician of the “Greens”, again campaigned for the supply of battle tanks to Ukraine. “It is now important that the chancellor clears the way for the delivery of the Leopard 2,” Hofreiter told newspapers from the Funke media group on Sunday. Decisive actions increase the possibility of ending the war.

Last week, the federal government initially promised to supply Ukraine with 40 German Marder infantry fighting vehicles. “Short could only be the first step.” After Marten, the leopard should follow, demanded FDP defense politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmerman on the t-online portal.

Armin Papperger, head of Rheinmetall, told BamS that the company still has 22 Leopard 2 tanks that have been decommissioned and another 88 Leopard 1 tanks. “Even if a decision is made tomorrow that we can send our Leopard tanks to Kiev, the delivery will take until the beginning. next year,” Paperger said. The tanks should be “completely dismantled and then rebuilt”.

The union is also advocating for the supply of Leopard tanks. CDM defense politician Roderich Kieseweter also raised the issue of buying back 15 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, which Germany sold to Qatar on the eve of the World Cup. “The Qatari Cheetah tanks are currently not needed there and are operational,” Kieseweter told Süddeutsche Zeitung. “We must do everything that can contribute to Ukraine’s victory,” he said.

However, Kiesewetter acknowledged that for further Gepard deliveries to make sense, the supply of ammunition must first be specified. Papperger told BamS that the first batch of cheetah ammunition from Rheinmetall will be produced in June/July. In the middle of next year, 300,000 rounds of ammunition can be delivered to Ukraine.

Further military support may be promised to Ukraine at the next meeting of its allies in Ramstein on Friday.

AFP:

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