Oil and weapons: Germany sends strong signals in support of Ukraine

Posted on April 26, 2022, 6:34 pmUpdated on April 26, 2022, 6:48 pm

Germany has been harshly criticized by the Baltic and Central European countries for its self-indulgence Despite the promise at the end of February to change the era, Germany is taking a new symbolic step. On Tuesday at Ramstein Air Base, the Social Democratic Defense Minister announced that Berlin would now send heavy artillery to Kyiv. Christine Lambrecht specified that her country “was in the process of delivering Gepard anti-aircraft tanks” manufactured by the German group Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW).

According to “Handelsblatt”, it can mobilize about fifty tanks, while its competitor Rheinmetall is ready to deliver more than 100 Leopard battle tanks in addition to the Marders. Due to the lack of stocks within the Bundeswehr, Germany will finance up to 2 billion euros in direct arms deliveries to Ukraine by industrialists.

The “circular exchange” should also allow the delivery of Soviet-type weapons from Eastern European NATO member states, in exchange for the shipment of alternative, more modern German weapons. Already last week, Germany announced the delivery of tanks to Slovenia so that the latter could transfer its armored vehicles to Kyiv.

Parliamentary pressure

In the face of accusations of stalemate, Christine Lambrecht insists that “the characters speak another language”, and no country has yet provided heavy weapons according to Berlin. Pressure from its international partners, including 40 countries in Ramstein on Tuesday under the leadership of the United States to coordinate shipments of arms, but also shipments of German parliamentarians, however, forced the government to change gear.

By announcing a proposal to demand a quick delivery of heavy artillery to Ukraine, the CDU threatened to revive divisions within the majority, between the Greens and the Freedom and Democracy Party on the one hand, and the Social Democratic Party on the other. imbued with peaceful considerations. The Liberal Chair of the Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Struck Zimmermann, and Green Party MP Anton Hofriter slammed Olaf Schulz’s warning last weekend, fearing the conflict in Ukraine will spread to the rest of Europe.

Concern shared by part of the German population is very divided on the issue of arms delivery: only 51% support, according to a poll conducted by the Forsa Institute for RTL and NTV. 38% think the government is not doing enough for Ukraine while 34% think the opposite. In this context, coalition government deputies have presented a proposal that competes with that of the CDU, which is due to be adopted on Thursday.

Russian oil on the horizon

The line of conduct of the executive branch, it incorporates the concerns of the population by emphasizing that “neither Germany nor NATO became a party to the war”. The proposal’s 41 recommendations go beyond accelerating the delivery of heavy weapons, referring in particular to the tightening of European sanctions, by “stopping imports of uranium and other raw materials from Russia and Belarus.”

And the German Minister of Economy in this field estimated, Tuesday, during a visit to Poland, that “there is a ban [pétrolier] It is within Germany’s reach.” While Russian oil still accounted for 25% of German consumption a month ago, Robert Habeck explained that it represented only 12% of German imports and only supplied one refinery in Schwedt, near Berlin, operated by Russia’s Rosneft.

“We need to find an alternative to Schwedt and we will be working on that in the coming days,” the environment minister promised, thus greatly pushing his goal of being out of Russian oil by the end of the year. The ban early next week in the context of strengthening sanctions against Russia can be mentioned on the agenda of the meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Schulz in Berlin, the date of which has not yet been set.

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