Selenskyj in the ARD interview: “If you can give ‘Leopard’ tanks, then give them”

Status: 01/19/2023 10:17 p.m

The Ukrainian President Selenskyj has the federal government in ARD-Interview sharply criticized for its hesitant attitude on the battle tank issue. “People die here – every day,” he said. His country just wants to defend itself.

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy looks at the hesitant German attitude to the delivery of battle tanks with incomprehension: “You are grown-up people. You can talk like that for six months, but people die here – every day,” Zelenskyy said in an interview with the ARD.

“If you have ‘Leopard’ tanks, give them to us. It’s not like we’re attacking, if anyone’s worried. Those ‘Leopards’ aren’t going through Russia. We’re defending ourselves.”

The decision for or against the delivery of “Leopard” tanks is a political one: “And if there is no political will on an issue, then you don’t have to look for excuses. Then you say: No! You don’t have to say that anything or someone is not ready yet,” Zelenskyy said.

Volodymyr Zelenskyj in conversation with ARD-Correspondent Vasily Golod.

Image: WDR

Scholz is under pressure – and probably sets conditions

In the past few weeks, the international pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz in particular steadily strengthened. The federal government should at least approve deliveries of “Leopard” tanks from other countries to Ukraine, but even better, it should also deliver its own “Leopards”, according to Eastern European countries, for example. Due to German regulations, the federal government must approve the delivery of German weapon systems, no matter which country wants to export them.

Scholz repeatedly emphasized that he did not want to go it alone – even after that Great Britain to supply its own “Challenger” main battle tanks has announced.

Most recently, several media reported unanimously that that Scholz had formulated conditions for the USA: Germany would only release the “Leopards” if the USA delivered its own “Abrams” type battle tanks in return. But US government officials did told various media that Washington is not currently planning this. The company’s own tanks are too high-maintenance and too complicated.

Pistorius: He was not aware of the condition

The new Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said in ARD focal point, such a condition was not known to him. When asked whether Germany would also deliver main battle tanks without the USA, he said: “I’m pretty sure that we will get a decision on this in the next few days. But I can’t tell you today what that will look like. ”

On Friday, representatives of the countries supporting Ukraine will meet at the US base in Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate. It will be about further military aid and also about the battle tank question.

Pistorius said the United States was the largest and most important ally within NATO, and that it was therefore important that Germany, as the largest ally in Europe, act “in solidarity with the Americans”. He rejected criticism of Germany: together with Great Britain, Germany is the biggest supporter of Ukraine after the USA. “So the accusation that we are not doing anything or that we are making the wrong decisions, you simply cannot let that stand in the room,” said Pistorius.

Nevertheless thanks to Germany – and the USA

in the ARD-Interview, Zelenskyy would also like more support for the Ukrainian airspace: “It’s about defending the sky. One would very much like to open a new page in this war, in this defense.” Ukraine wishes “that the Russians do not have control over our airspace,” said Zelenskyy.

At the same time, he thanked the federal government for the aid and military packages that had been delivered so far: “We are grateful. I want everyone to hear that: We are grateful to Germany.”

At the request of ARD, Selensky did not conduct the interview in Ukrainian, but in Russian.

With information from Rebecca Barth and Olaf Bock, WDR

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