In what is the latest sign of the growing stakes facing the globe in the war in Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock openly stated that Ukraine’s allies — including Germany — are at war with Russia.
“And therefore I’ve said already in the last days — yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks,” Baerbock said during a debate at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Tuesday in Strasbourg. “But the most important and the crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”
The German Green party, which has its roots in the peace movement, has been one of the most avid supporters of more weapons being sent to Ukraine. The party was also actively backing a decision to send Leopard 2 main battle tanks, which the German government approved this week.
Russia has reacted with fury to Germany and the U.S.’s decision to send advanced main battle tanks to Ukraine, labeling the move “extremely dangerous” and in violation of the “red lines” set by the Kremlin.
Germany had previously held off on delivering tanks to Ukraine, fearing it would escalate the war and drag the country into a direct confrontation with Russia. The German public is also skeptical of sending more weapons to Ukraine; however, Baerbock already said last year that she intends to keep her promises to Ukraine “no matter what my German voters think.”
Germany and US okay sending Leopard and Abrams tanks to Ukraine
The question is now how Russia will respond
The Russian embassy released a statement to the German government, stating that the decision to send tanks “contradicts the statements of German politicians about the unwillingness of the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) to be drawn into (the war). Unfortunately, this happens over and over again.” The statement also warned that the tank delivery “takes the conflict to a new level of confrontation.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that the tank deliveries have shown that the West “has unequivocally stated its desire to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia.”
Germany’s decision comes after the head of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, Tino Chrupalla, warned Chancellor Olaf Scholz that sending tanks to Ukraine would put Germany’s security at risk.
“Now, Chancellor Scholz must finally show his colors for peace and prohibit Poland from handing over battle tanks to Ukraine. German tanks are not allowed to roll through Ukraine. The federal government must not drag Germany further into the Ukraine war,” said Chrupalla.