German FM urges swift decision on tank delivery to Ukraine
BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s foreign minister is putting pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to decide soon whether to supply Ukraine with advanced tanks as it seeks to reclaim more of its captured territory from Russia.
Kyiv has said it would like to get German Leopard-2 tanks, but Berlin has so far rebuffed that request while delivering other weaponry, such as howitzers and self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons.
In an interview with daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published Thursday, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said a decision on delivering modern battle tanks to Ukraine could only be taken jointly by Germany’s governing three-party coalition and its international partners.
“But in the decisive phase that Ukraine currently finds itself, I also don’t believe that it’s a decision which can be delayed for long,” she was quoted as saying.
Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a fellow member of the Greens party, said Thursday that he expected Germany to deliver more of “the right weapons” to Ukraine soon.
The far-right Alternative for Germany party, which is not in government and has close ties to Moscow, warned, meanwhile, against providing tanks to Ukraine.
“The Ukraine war is not our war,” said its co-leader, Tino Chrupalla. He called instead for Germany to open the Nord Stream 2 pipeline so the country can import gas from Russia.
Meanwhile, Germany’s defense minister announced Thursday that her country would send two additional MARS II multiple launch rocket systems to Ukraine, as well as 50 DINGO armored vehicles.
Follow all AP stories on the impact of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.