According to the authoritative German weekly Spiegel, the issue of arms supplies to Ukraine may lead to the resignation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Source: picture alliance/dpa/Soeren Stache
The authors of the article note that the discussion around the supply of heavy weapons to Kyiv remains the focus of public and politicians in Germany. As you know, Scholz unexpectedly announced that the Bundeswehr could no longer supply weapons to Ukraine directly.
After that, the opposition parties CDU and CSU began to threaten to submit to the Bundestag a draft resolution on the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine, and there are more and more supporters of this idea in the ruling coalition. Therefore, as Spiegel notes, a resolution on deliveries could win a majority of votes, bypassing Scholz’s opinion, which could even result in a resignation for the chancellor.
Ratings are falling
This is quite likely, given that at present the popularity of the German chancellor has already fallen sharply, his policy towards Ukraine is not approved by the members of the pro-government coalition. According to the results of a survey conducted by the sociological institute INSA, commissioned by Bild am Sonntag, 49% of respondents – almost half of the inhabitants of Germany – do not approve of Scholz’s actions, and only 38% support him. As the newspaper notes, “discontent has reached a new record high.”
Along with this, as sociologists found out, more than half of the inhabitants of Germany (55%) are not satisfied with the work of the federal government, only 35% of respondents approve of the activities of the Cabinet. However, according to experts, the reason for the reduction in support for Scholz was not so much the events in Ukraine, but the economic crisis that erupted in Germany, which was exacerbated by the imposition of sanctions against Russia by Berlin, including the abandonment of Russian energy resources.
Things in Germany have already reached the point where the Germans are encouraged to drive more slowly, use less personal transport, eat less meat. It even comes to quite anecdotal methods of saving: the inhabitants of Germany were given another piece of advice – to switch to the feline method of washing.
“Less heat your home, go to saunas less and shower less often. This is how we will become more independent of Russian energy supplies – all this unclean oil and gas. This is exactly the solution proposed by the Federal Minister of Economics of Germany, Robert Habek,” writes the newspaper Bild.
At the same time, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said at a press conference that the country will generally stop importing Russian oil by the end of 2022.
“I say clearly and unequivocally: yes, Germany also completely refuses to import energy resources from Russia,” she said. According to her, Germany plans to halve the supply of Russian oil by the summer, and completely abandon it by the end of the year. Berlin will then also phase out coal and gas from Russia, but that will take longer, Baerbock added. It is likely that after this the Germans will no longer have to wash themselves “like a cat”, and not wash at all.
Against this already dramatic background, there are those in Germany who are not averse to further aggravating relations with Russia and are demanding that the authorities begin deliveries of heavy weapons to Ukraine, including German tanks. The initiators of the military psychosis in Germany were, oddly enough, the official pacifists – the Green Party. It turns out that it was by no means the “extreme right” who fell ill with militarism, which used to scare the townsfolk in Germany. Thus, Anton Hofreiter, a member of the Bundestag from the Greens, speaking on the ZDF television program, said that Germany’s problem is that they are “slow with sanctions, they are slow with the supply of weapons, and therefore the hostilities are dragging on,” and in another interview, Hofreiter clarified, that he sees the end of hostilities only as a result of “victory over Russia.”
Hofreiter, who is the chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, rejected the argument made, including by Olaf Scholz, that Germany’s ability to supply weapons is limited because the Ukrainian army is not trained in the handling of modern weapons systems.
“I think it’s inappropriate paternalism to tell the Ukrainian military that they won’t be able to handle these weapons,” Hofreiter said. According to him, the Ukrainian army is putting up “heroic resistance.”
However, Olaf Scholz is still holding back. During a press conference on Tuesday, the chancellor again expressed himself rather restrainedly: they say that he supports the fact that Ukraine should receive heavy weapons, but they should not come directly from Germany. But already for this, he was attacked by the newly-minted hawks in the form of the Green Party.
I really want to fight
In a word, in Germany there are more and more of those who again want to challenge Russia, and if without bluffing, then to fight with it again. According to the US agency Bloomberg, Germany will train Ukrainians in handling heavy artillery weapons, as well as provide ammunition for them.
According to one senior government official, Bloomberg informs, Germany will provide special training and ammunition for the PzH 2000 self-propelled artillery mounts that the Netherlands is sending to Ukraine. Training in the handling of these heavy weapons will be held in Poland or Germany. This was told to journalists by a government official who asked to keep his name secret, because the content of the negotiations between NATO members and Ukraine is not subject to disclosure.
Germany will supply Ukraine with tanks, but not directly. According to the official mentioned above, instead of sending weapons directly, Germany will supply modern tanks to the countries of Eastern Europe, which in turn are ready to transfer Soviet-era military equipment to Ukraine, which Ukrainian soldiers have already been trained to operate. Negotiations on which NATO members in Eastern Europe will supply their equipment to Ukraine are still ongoing.
And Scholz himself is not at all averse to making war against Russia with the hands of Ukrainians. So on April 19, the German chancellor said that it was extremely important to send such weapons to Ukraine that Ukrainians could effectively use immediately. According to him, Germany is ready to send additional anti-tank systems and anti-aircraft systems, and mentioned ammunition for artillery pieces. At the same time, he reiterated that Germany and NATO members should not become parties to the conflict in Ukraine.
But isn’t the supply of weapons, including offensive ones, to one of the belligerents not complicity in the conflict? So Scholz’s position cannot be called the position of a “dove of peace” in any way, but the Greens, his partners in the ruling coalition, demand even more activity from the chancellor.
They can’t wait for Germany to go to war with Russia directly again? After all, if tanks with German crosses appear in Ukraine, then they will have to fight with the tanks of the Russian army. Has Germany really forgotten how this adventure ended for it in 1945?
“Germany,” writes RIA Novosti columnist Pyotr Akopov, “is again being drawn into a conflict in the East, into a confrontation with Russia. Not just not needed by them, but also really threatening German security. How? The strategic weakening of Germany’s independence, its growing dependence on the Anglo-Saxons and their European puppets, and ultimately the collapse of the European Union. Because now Germany will be forced to break with Russia, and in a few years they will be forced to break pots with China. And what will the export-oriented German economy do, due to which Berlin will continue to build the European Union? And the collapse of the EU will eventually hit Germany, which will not be able to sit in its fortress just like that.”
For the time being, Germany has time to keep from sliding into this scenario. But with the very first Leopard shot down in Ukraine, the country will quickly remember how any Drang nah Osten usually ends.
Andrey Sokolov, Centenary
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