“The issue of combat aircraft for Ukraine is currently not in the spotlight,” said German Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, canceling that possibility for the moment to give priority to the tasks of securing the airspace over Ukraine. “We won’t talk about that for now,” he said. The German government is focused on adding European partners willing to send combat tanks Leopard 2 A kyiv and in the supply of ammunition. “If the skies over the Ukraine remain safe for the next three to four months, then we can talk about all the further steps.”
In relation to the delivery of the Leopards, Pistorius has acknowledged that it was “a little disappointing» that only Poland, Norway and Portugal promised tanks as European partners. Other countries are still in the consideration phase. According to Pistorius, the first ‘Leopard’ tanks from Germany should arrive in Ukraine in the last week of March. The German minister has called on the arms industry to produce more ammunition, even if the contracts have not yet been signed. This is a “question of will and good will,” he insisted, promising that they will sell the ammunition and that the risk of keeping it was low.
The German government has signed contracts with the German producer Rheinmetall, on behalf of Ukraine, to produce ammunition for the Marder armored personnel carriers. Parliamentary approval would have been required for Germany to sign the contracts on its own behalf, which would have taken too long. Securing sufficient quantities of tank ammunition has been a key challenge for Ukraine to fight the invasion by Russia. This step helps ensure the “rapid supply of Ukraine with desperately needed ammunition,” Pistorius has defended.
300,000 loads of ammunition to Ukraine
As reported by the Suddeutsche Zeitung, 300,000 rounds of ammunition will be delivered to Ukraine starting in July. So far, Berlin has delivered a total of 60,000 of its own stock. And they have not been more because Switzerland, where Germany produces large quantities of its munitions, had blocked the delivery of defense products manufactured in its territory due to its military neutrality. On Tuesday, the Swiss government once again rejected a request from Berlin to authorize the delivery of domestically produced munitions to Ukraine.
Pistorius, moreover, sees good arguments for opening a public debate in Germany on compulsory civil service, which would serve to strengthen civil protection, the German armed forces and rescue services. However, to form a political opinion on this issue, “the voices of young people must be heard,” he told the German news agency DPA. “I have not expressly ruled in favor of reactivating compulsory military service, but I consider the discussion on a general obligation to serve valuable.”
Conscription was suspended in 2011 after 55 years under the then CSU Defense Minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, which in practice amounted to the abolition of military and civil service. The Russian attack on Ukraine has brought the issue back to the fore, although, at 62, Pistorius is reluctant to “burden a generation that already has a difficult future ahead of it, now such a general obligation to serve.” «What would I say, therefore, from my point of view? In recent months the impression has emerged that some do not have the necessary appreciation for the firefighters and the Red Cross, the police and the armed forces. Mandatory service could help bring people and government organizations a little closer», he concluded, «it could show how important these facilities are for the functioning of our society».