Chancellor Olaf Scholz may continue to resist supplying Kiev with tanks only if he wants to see his capital under siege, a senior official has said
Should Germany fail to provide Ukraine with tanks, it will soon have to use them to defend its own capital from advancing Russian troops, Alexey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, warned on Wednesday.
Speaking to Ukrainian TV, Danilov took a swipe at Germany’s leadership, particularly at Chancellor Olaf Scholz, criticizing him for refusing to send Kiev modern Leopard 2 battle tanks.
If Scholz “wants the Germans to deploy German tanks to fight off the Russians outside of Berlin and Stuttgart, he could continue this game, conducting sociological surveys on whether they need to give us tanks or not,” he said.
The official also highlighted the significance of the Ukraine conflict for Europe, adding that it poses “huge challenges” to the region. “Those countries that understand that help us at 150% capacity. Those countries that are slowly wising up about the need to tackle this issue, they also started to act,” Danilov stated.
While Berlin has been providing Kiev with large amounts of weaponry, it has been reluctant to supply it with modern Leopard 2 battle tanks. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had earlier explained that because no other country had made equivalent weaponry available to Ukraine, Berlin should not be the first one to do so.
A December YouGov poll also showed that 45% of Germans do not want to send Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, with another 33% saying they were in favor of such a step.
Ukrainian officials have repeatedly voiced discontent over Germany’s stance on the matter, with Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba saying last month that Kiev does not understand why Germany is sending artillery but not heavy armor.
On Monday, Michael Mueller, who sits on the Bundestag’s Foreign Policy Committee, told the German media that Berlin would continue to refrain from any “ill-considered unilateral moves,” especially in the context of arms shipments.
Such deliveries are possible only “in coordination with our NATO partners,” he said, adding that the US-led military bloc wants to avoid becoming a direct party to the Ukraine conflict.
Moscow has long warned Kiev backers against sending weapons to Ukraine, arguing that it would only prolong the hostilities. President Vladimir Putin also accused the West of turning Ukraine into “a colony,” and using its people as “cannon fodder, a battering ram against Russia.”
January 05, 2023 at 03:13PM