Annalena Baerbock repeatedly conveys determination when supplying German arms to Ukraine. But the government has so far not acted on its announcements. The gap between claim and reality is obviously large.
The fact that Green Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, of all people, has developed into one of the most vehement advocates of extensive arms deliveries to Ukraine is involuntarily comical. You, whose party actually stands in the tradition of the peace movement.
Because the Ukrainian troops in the Donbass are currently under massive pressure and Vladimir Putin is in the process of tearing out the south-east of the country, Baerbock’s geopolitical pragmatism seems more than appropriate. Her way of finding the right, blunt words, even on sensitive issues, is currently well received by voters. And so the Foreign Minister made her point of view clear again on Tuesday in the “ARD”.
Putin assumed “he could quickly and brutally invade Ukraine and then crush the country,” she said. “Now he sees that doesn’t work. And his strategy is now designed for the long term.” That means: “We also have to support Ukraine in such a way that we have staying power.”
Baerbock’s conclusion: “More weapons deliveries that we have made so far.” She referred to the so-called ring exchange, in which Germany supports other NATO partners with weapons so that they can in turn deliver weapons of Soviet design to Ukraine. However, her Ukrainian counterpart made it clear: “For the terrible thing that is happening in Donbass, they need support above all else to be able to fend off what comes from the air – that means artillery, that means air defense, and that means drones .”
Then she added: “And now we have to check whether we really are providing everything for this new strategy so that Ukraine can continue to defend itself.” Otherwise there is a risk that “everything will be flattened” in the Donbass war zone in eastern Ukraine.
Stamina, artillery, anti-aircraft defense: With her choice of words, Baerbock is not for the first time conveying a form of determination that her government colleagues from the SPD and above all the chancellor have been missing for weeks. Exactly which and how many weapons the federal government has delivered to Ukraine so far is still being kept secret, with reference to military tactical reasons.
And yet there are now enough indications that the German announcements have hardly been followed by anything of substance. As the “Welt am Sonntag” recently reported, since the end of March Germany has also hardly supplied any light weapons worth mentioning.
Accordingly, between March 30 and May 26, only two deliveries of arms from the federal government are said to have arrived in Ukraine. Both contained only small devices. According to a list in mid-May, Germany sent 3,000 anti-tank mines and 1,600 more special anti-tank directional mines.
The seven self-propelled howitzers – heavy artillery pieces – promised by Scholz and 50 anti-aircraft vehicles of the Gepard type have not yet been delivered.
Because there is a lack of heavy weapons from Europe, especially from Germany, Ukraine is helping itself at the front as best it can. According to a report in “Bild”, the Ukrainian troops are using, among other things, captured Russian BM-21 rocket launchers and aim them at their former owners: old Soviet arsenals instead of modern western weapon systems.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also criticizes the fact that Germany could, and possibly should, do more. In an interview with the Italian daily Repubblica, Kulebba said there are countries where Ukraine is waiting for deliveries and “countries where we are tired of waiting”. Germany belongs to the second group.
According to this, Germany has kept secret from its country for weeks which weapons can be delivered to Ukraine. “I’m asking the West again at this point to send us all the 155mm caliber guns and multiple rocket launchers they can,” Kuleba demanded
None of this goes with the repeatedly demonstrated determination of the foreign minister. The gap between announcements and reality is unmistakable after almost 100 days of war. How serious the traffic light really is about taking countermeasures here will become clear after today’s debate in the Bundestag at the latest.
There, Olaf Scholz used the opportunity to counter the impression that he was deliberately delaying the issue of heavy arms deliveries to Ukraine. He announced the delivery of a modern anti-aircraft system to Ukraine to fight against Russian attackers. In addition, the Ukrainian armed forces will be provided with a modern tracking radar that can spot artillery. Germany will also support the delivery of multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine announced by the USA “according to our technical possibilities”.
What remains is the question: will actions finally follow on from announcements?