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Berlin and Washington are coordinating a “qualitative new step” in their weapons deliveries to Ukraine, German government sources told AFP Thursday, following growing calls on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to act. online news
Scholz has been under mounting pressure to deliver more modern weapons systems long sought by Kyiv, after France became the first in the West to agree to supply light tanks to Ukraine.
Berlin has argued that no other Western partners had yet provided such armaments.
But Germany and the United states are now “planning a qualitative new step in weapons deliveries for Ukraine”, the sources in Berlin said.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not specify the kind of arms involved. According to media reports however, including in German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Berlin is looking at the supply of Western-made Marder infantry fighting vehicles.
“We are constantly looking at what more we can do in terms of military support,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said at a news conference with her British counterpart James Cleverly in London.
This included both “defensive weapons” and arms needed to “free occupied territory” from Russia, she added.
Ukraine has also repeatedly asked for Germany’s Leopard 2 battle tanks in its fight against Russia.
Following the French move Wednesday, Scholz’s critics argue he can no longer refuse Kyiv’s calls.
“The argument constantly advanced by the chancellery that Germany must not go it alone is absolutely out of date,” said Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, who heads the German parliament’s defence committee.
Strack-Zimmermann, who is from the liberal FDP party, a junior partner in Scholz’s coalition, said the chancellor “should finally recognise the sign of the times and follow up.
“The ball is in Berlin’s court.”
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, who according to media reports is likely to be named Germany’s new ambassador to Russia, also suggested that Berlin needed to reassess its position.
“I think that overall, it is an entirely new situation for the West when countries go and deliver new categories” of armaments, Lambsdorff, also of the FDP, told German radio.
Anton Hofreiter, the chair of the parliament’s European affairs committee, told the Funke media group that the German government’s position against sending the tanks was “obsolete”.
“The chancellor must now create a European initiative for the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks” used by national armies across the bloc, said the Green MP.
Another government source told AFP earlier on Thursday that Berlin was in “constant talks with French and American allies” over military assistance to Ukraine — noting a meeting of Western allies set for mid-January, when the partners would discuss weapons deliveries.
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