Minister, you went on an Easter trip with your son in a Bundeswehr helicopter.

Was that wise?

Peter Carstens

Political correspondent in Berlin

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Konrad Schuller

Political correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper in Berlin.

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Of course, not only as a lawyer do I meticulously ensure that everything runs correctly and in accordance with the rules and that I always bear the costs when my son accompanies me.

The little time I have with him is particularly important to me.

But I can understand that this is causing criticism, and I will ensure that there is no more reason for such accusations.

A caricature shows you with a Sylt sticker on your suitcase.

They get on a helicopter and say: “Our helicopters to Ukraine?

Locked out!

We need them ourselves.” Does that apply to you?

That's satire, of course, and it's allowed to exaggerate, even if neither I nor my son ever flew to Sylt by helicopter, but to visit the troops.

The readiness to fly also has nothing to do with what Ukraine needs as support.

When you came into office, you said that there was still a little time to learn the ranks.

Do you have that ready by now?

I don't get the impression that we're living in a time right now where passing a quiz show matters.

But that's really not a problem.

No, but it is part of military life that you address the gentlemen with what they are, so to speak, official.

The most important thing for the servicewomen and men is that they experience the appreciation they deserve.

They don't get this appreciation just by being addressed.

It is much more important that they get what they need, namely respect and recognition.

And that is expressed in concrete terms in better equipment.

And I'll take care of that.

But now the time you asked for the ranks is over.

So would you say it's working well now?

Don't worry about that.

At least I haven't seen anyone complain about it.

It's also hard to imagine in the Ministry of Defense that anyone would complain about it.

But how would you describe your relationship to your house now?

As a politician with roots in the peace movement, how do you feel with all those uniforms?

I have no problem with uniforms.

Above all, I see the people who wear these uniforms, I see their great motivation and their empowerment.

Every soldier who stands up for our democracy and our freedom, for all of us, deserves our utmost respect.

This is not a profession like any other, but it involves risking my life defending our values.

And it's good that society's perception of the Bundeswehr has also changed.

For example, some soldiers initially hesitated when riding the train in uniform because they didn't know how it would be received.

I don't hear that anymore today.

Even when the Bundeswehr's Corona administrative assistance was discussed, it was initially said: Okay, you can help, but please don't come in uniform.

That's over too.

On arms aid to Ukraine.

German industry is offering to supply Marder infantry fighting vehicles and Leopard 1 main battle tanks, and you yourself have announced “Gepard” anti-aircraft tanks.

It doesn't really get going, and many ring exchanges are also delayed.


The ring exchange has long been underway.

Slovakia has supplied Ukraine with Soviet S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, and in return we protect Slovakia's airspace with our Patriot systems.

Other ring exchanges falter.

Slovenia and the Czech Republic want to supply Ukraine with T-72 tanks.

They hope for compensation from Germany, but not much has happened yet.