In the Ukraine conflict, the pressure on the German government to consider supplying arms to Kiev is growing.
Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) again rejected the corresponding demands on Saturday.
There is a "consensus in the federal government" that arms deliveries to Ukraine are "currently not helpful" given the acute situation, she told the "Welt am Sonntag".
In view of the massive Russian troop deployment on the Ukrainian border, the government in Kiev has long been appealing to the federal government to supply it with so-called defensive weapons and military equipment.
The Ukrainian ambassador in Germany, Andriy Melnyk, told the "Handelsblatt" that the "seriousness of the situation" demanded an "immediate rethinking" from the traffic light government on this topic.
At the moment his country urgently needs 100,000 helmets and protective vests for the volunteers who are just signing up for the Landwehr to defend their homeland together with the armed forces.
Representatives of the FDP had recently called for a reassessment of the situation and, in the case of Ukraine, brought a move away from the restrictive German armaments policy.
Is Germany doing enough?
Lambrecht told the "Welt am Sonntag" that she understood "that they want to support Ukraine". But Germany is already doing this. A complete field hospital will be handed over to Ukraine in February, "including the necessary training, all co-financed by Germany with 5.3 million euros". In addition, the federal government has supported Ukraine with ventilators and by treating soldiers in Bundeswehr hospitals.
The CDU defense politician Johann David Wadephul accused the traffic light coalition of “flying blind in terms of security policy” and warned of a loss of German reputation in NATO.
"Should it come true that the federal government deliberately blocked the delivery of Estonian-owned defensive arms to Ukraine, this would be a new sad climax," he said on Saturday.
Months ago, today's Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) "rightly" initiated a debate about the delivery of defensive weapons to Ukraine.
Recently, several NATO countries had announced arms deliveries to Ukraine, including Great Britain and the Baltic States.
The German government, on the other hand, takes the position that deadly weapons must not be delivered to crisis areas.
Different attitudes in the parties have also recently become clear with a view to dealing appropriately with Russia.
In the conflict over Ukraine, Moscow presented NATO with a far-reaching list of demands, including a waiver of further eastward expansion of the defense alliance.
“Preclude Ukraine from joining NATO for the foreseeable future”
Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) spoke in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung" in favor of excluding Ukraine from joining NATO in the foreseeable future. It "cannot be the goal to send German soldiers to Ukraine," said the CSU politician. Söder rejected tough sanctions such as stopping the controversial Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline in the event of a Russian attack on Ukraine. This would also affect Germany, he argued.
Former SPD chairman and ex-Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and former Polish ambassador Janusz Reiter called for more toughness towards Russia. “Europeans don't have to declare their willingness to engage in dialogue every day. What is missing is the willingness to defend the peace with all rigour.” Gabriel and Reiter complained that the previous threats of sanctions against Russia – also with a view to Nord Stream 2 – had not worked. "But what if the EU let Russia know that a war in Ukraine would jeopardize the entire EU-Russia energy partnership?" they put forward a much tougher approach.
Amid the tensions, the Russian and British defense ministers plan to meet for talks.
Defense sources in London said on Saturday that Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu had accepted an offer from his British colleague Ben Wallace.
Since the last bilateral talks between defense ministers of both countries took place in London in 2013, Shoygu suggested a meeting in Moscow.
In his invitation, Wallace "made it clear that he will explore all avenues to achieve stability and a solution to the Ukraine crisis," it said.
The UK is among a handful of western countries supplying weapons such as anti-tank missiles to Ukraine given the situation.
Germany continues to refuse arms deliveries.Keywords: