EXPLAINED: Is Germany helping Ukraine in fighting war with Russia?

Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, is a victim of his logic. He has frequently asserted that Germany cannot act independently (keine Alleingänge) to support his unwillingness to send tanks to the front to increase Berlin’s involvement in the conflict.

Germany needs to be aware of the subject as its partners intensify their support for Ukraine. While other NATO nations with stockpiles of the German tank are prepared to follow if Berlin lifts its opposition and issues export licenses, Finland and Poland are both waiting for Berlin’s approval to deliver Leopards to Ukraine.

In addition, the US has told Berlin that it must provide Leopards to Ukraine even if it does not send its own Abrams tanks simultaneously, as Scholz urged. The chancellor’s refusal to budge on the matter has dramatically irritated Washington.

In preparation for a possible decision to make the Leopard tank accessible to Ukraine, Boris Pistorius ordered an evaluation of the Leopard stocks held by the German armed forces on his second day as defence minister. Additionally, Hitler declared that Germany’s allies were allowed to begin preparing Ukrainian soldiers for the tank.

The historic collapse of Germany

Scholz’s coalition partners have been harshly critical of him for his ongoing inaction. FDP member and chair of the parliamentary defence committee Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann claimed that Germany had failed at a crucial juncture in history.

The Alliance 90/The Greens’ Robin Wagener, the head of the German-Ukrainian parliamentary group, argued that tanks were urgently needed and rejected the SPD’s claim that supplying Leopard tanks would put the conflict at risk of developing further. Despite Germany’s prudence, he claimed, Russia has recently considerably expanded its terror campaign against Ukraine.

According to a recent Forsa opinion poll, support for and opposition to sending Leopards to Ukraine is equal at 46%, reflecting a contemporary movement among German voters in favour of giving Ukraine further military aid.

For the first time, the poll found that sending modern tanks to Ukraine had the support of majorities in all four of the major political parties: SPD (51%), CDU/CSU (54%), FDP (62%), and The Greens (63%).

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) and Die Linke, both of which oppose the shipment of heavy weaponry to Ukraine, continue to enjoy popularity in eastern Germany, despite the stark differences in opinions.

Scholz is prioritizing domestic issues over the security of Europe by delaying a decision on the Leopards to keep the SPD’s pacifist left wing on his side. He is proposing that Germany exercise caution not to ignite a more significant conflict between Russia and NATO that could result in a nuclear exchange for this constituency.

But during the past year, a pattern in Berlin’s attitude to Russia’s aggressiveness against Ukraine has been apparent. Scholz caves in when pressed by Germany’s allies, his coalition partners, and the CDU/CSU opposition.

Before the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the decision to halt the Nord Stream 2 project was followed by a softening of stances over the delivery of howitzers and infantry fighting vehicles and a Patriot air defence system.

There is no longer any room for delay.

Berlin won’t be able to block its allies and further stall the shipment of Leopard tanks if the Russian army deploys more troops to Ukraine as part of a planned spring operation.
This indicates that Germany will unavoidably get more militarily involved in the conflict.

Scholz has attempted to strike a balance over the past year between offering minimal support for Ukraine’s military endeavour and a broad spectrum of economic and humanitarian aid both bilaterally and through the European Union (EU).

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