Weapons deliveries: Klingbeil accuses Union of “riot course” in Ukraine politics

Germany weapons shipments

Klingbeil accuses Union of “riot course” in Ukraine politics

Federal government prepares ring exchange for delivery of heavy weapons

The federal government is preparing a so-called ring exchange with Slovenia for the delivery of further weapons to Ukraine. The country supplies tanks to Ukraine, Germany then later fills the gap with German tanks.

Does Ukraine still get heavy weapons directly from Germany or not? The question has not yet been clearly answered. The Union now wants a decision in the Bundestag. SPD leader Klingbeil considers this to be party tactics.

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil has sharply criticized the Union’s actions in the discussion about arms deliveries to Ukraine. “I believe that this riot course will damage the Union,” he told the German Press Agency with a view to the application for arms deliveries planned by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag. The largest opposition faction wants to have this voted on next week if possible and is also hoping for the approval of coalition politicians from the Greens and the FDP, who have spoken out in favor of arms deliveries.

The SPD sees this as a tactical maneuver. “The Union is looking for its role in the opposition. You can tell,” said Klingbeil. “There is a war in Ukraine, people are dying there. This cruel war should not be used for partisan tactical games. I hope those who also see it that way will prevail in the Union.”

Union faction leader Friedrich Merz (CDU) said on Friday: “If the federal government does not deliver, then parliament must deliver.” There is a majority in the Bundestag for the delivery of heavy weapons, which are CDU / CSU, FDP and Greens. “We have a minority of the SPD, AfD and Left Party.” If the federal government does not succeed in mobilizing its own majority, which would be the task of the Social Democrats, then a parliamentary resolution must be put in place of a government resolution.

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Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and other Green Party politicians have spoken out in favor of the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine.

FDP request for delivery of heavy weapons

The FDP may vote for it at their party conference this weekend. Ukraine must be supported quickly and effectively, taking into account a number of criteria. “This also includes the delivery of heavy weapons and the rapid provision of armaments by German industry, for which Germany, as announced, will take over the financing,” says the draft of an application by the federal executive board. FDP defense politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann told the German Press Agency: “This means that the FDP will be the first party to include the demand for heavy weapons for Ukraine in its decision-making process – by decision of its highest decision-making body, namely the federal party congress .”

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) initially rejected the delivery of heavy weapons from the Bundeswehr stocks. Instead, the federal government wants to finance arms deliveries from the industry and support donations from alliance partners with replacement services, training or ammunition.

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WELT AM SONNTAG editor Stefan Aust

Strack-Zimmermann spoke in the “daily mirror’ in favor of Ukraine getting tanks and vehicles directly from Germany, for which complex training is not required. “Of course there is other heavy material beyond combat and armored personnel carriers,” she said. “For example, bridge-laying, recovery or engineer tanks. Wheel-driven tanks are also possible, such as the Boxer or Fuchs. The Ukraine should get such vehicles directly from Germany.”

100 billion package to upgrade the Bundeswehr

Meanwhile, SPD party leader Klingbeil called on the Union to approve the 100 billion euro special fund for the Bundeswehr in parliament. “I expect there will be a lot of traffic light support for that. The Union has also announced that it will support the 100 billion package.” Here, too, he says, the Union should refrain from playing party tactics. “It’s about better equipment for our soldiers and a functioning Bundeswehr,” said Klingbeil. “We’re seeing how important that is these days, also in the discussion about arms deliveries.”

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The CDU/CSU supports the rearmament of the Bundeswehr in principle. Group leader Merz has named six conditions for approval in the Bundestag. Among other things, two percent of the gross domestic product would have to be spent on defense on a permanent basis, and the billions would have to be invested exclusively in the troops. In addition, the Union is only willing to contribute to the necessary two-thirds majority with its votes if the coalition factions of the SPD, Greens and FDP vote in unison.

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