The Bundestag called on the German government to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine

The German Parliament by a majority vote adopted a document on the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine. How the debate went, what the parliamentarians argued about and what equipment will be transferred to Kyiv – in the material of RBC /756511543775547.jpg” alt=”The Bundestag urged the German government to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons” />

Voting on a comprehensive plan to support Ukraine in the Bundestag

What did the Bundestag decide

On Thursday, April 28, the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, supported by a majority vote a document calling on the government to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine. “For” 586 deputies voted, 100— “against”, seven more abstained.

In a ten-page statement entitled “Defending Peace and Freedom in Europe” Comprehensive Support for Ukraine” refers to the need to “continue and, if possible, accelerate the supply of necessary equipment to Ukraine, including the supply of heavy weapons and complex systems, and expand the sphere of circular exchange.” It also calls for the establishment of a ceasefire in Ukraine for the safe evacuation of civilians along humanitarian corridors. The statement condemned Russia's “brutal war of aggression against Ukraine.” “Russia is flagrantly violating international and international humanitarian law and is trying to permanently destroy the European peace order,” — underlined in the document.

The draft statement was submitted the day before by the ruling coalition (the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Greens and the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP)) together with the largest opposition bloc of the Christian Democratic and Christian Social Unions (CDU/CSU) and marks a historic change in German politics. Before the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, Germany adhered to a policy of refusing to supply weapons, and after the outbreak of hostilities— refusal to supply heavy weapons.

How the debate went on

The only parties that opposed the call for the supply of heavy weapons were the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany; (AfD) and the “Left”. AfD co-chairman and faction leader in the Bundestag, Tino Khrupalla, said the statement could be called a “declaration of participation in the war” and suggested that its adoption would prolong the war in Ukraine and could make Germany a participant in a nuclear war. According to him, both Ukraine and Russia— sovereign states and it is in the interests of Germany to maintain good relations with them politically, economically and culturally in the future.

Leader of the “Left” faction Dietmar Bartsch also expressed his fears about the start of a nuclear war in the event of the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine. He also recalled the words of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about the inadmissibility of nuclear war and that he was initially against the supply of heavy weapons, since such a step increases the risk of nuclear escalation. “The course changes every day, I can no longer keep up with it, and many people in this country feel the same way,” Barch said. He also expressed doubt that the delivery of heavy weapons would end the war. According to him, now there is too little talk about diplomatic efforts, and solidarity with the people of Ukraine and de-escalation— they are two sides of the same coin.

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There were disagreements among the parties— co-authors of the document. The leader of the Christian Democrats and head of the CDU/CSU faction, Friedrich Merz, criticized Scholz (the Federal Chancellor was not present at the debate due to a visit to Japan). He declared “weakness and insecurity”; chancellor on the issue of the Ukrainian conflict, and also called Scholz's statements about nuclear war irresponsible. According to him, the statements of the head of government allow us to conclude that “all countries that do more for Ukraine than Germany increase the risk of war.”

In response, SPD chairman Lars Klingbeil accused Merz of pursuing purely party interests. “Today you could give a public policy speech. But it became a party political action,»— he said, addressing the head of the CDU. Klingbeil also thanked the ruling coalition and the CDU/CSU for agreeing to come up with a single document and stressed that the proposed proposal “sends a clear signal to Putin and the people of Ukraine that we are on the right side of history as the German Bundestag.”

How the parties agreed on a joint draft document

From the beginning of the military conflict, Scholz was against the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine. It was assumed that Germany would participate in the financing of such supplies to companies in other countries— NATO partners, as well as help with the training of the Ukrainian military and ammunition. This position was sharply criticized by the Christian Democrats, and on April 25, the CDU/CSU bloc submitted a draft document to the Bundestag calling for the transfer of heavy weapons to Ukraine. According to the text of this document, which was at the disposal of the S & uuml; ddeutsche Zeitung, the bloc called for “to provide weapons to Ukraine directly in the maximum possible amount from the available stocks of the Bundeswehr and deliver them there immediately, including heavy weapons, including armored weapons systems (including combat tanks and infantry fighting vehicles) and artillery systems. The document also envisaged the supply of reconnaissance equipment, means of protection and electronic warfare, small arms, ammunition, anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank systems. At the same time, the Christian Democrats stressed that they are ready to develop a joint draft document with the ruling coalition.

In response, the three ruling parties submitted their draft statement on April 26, urging the government to “increase the supply of heavy weapons and sophisticated systems, such as through a round-robin exchange, without jeopardizing Germany's ability to defend the alliance (NATO)”. They also spoke in favor of training the Ukrainian military in Germany.

Circular arms exchange implies the supply of weapons to one country in exchange for the fact that it will supply other weapons to a third country within the framework of the agreement.

On the same day, the head of the German Ministry of Defense, Christine Lambrecht, announced the decision to supply Ukraine with 50 Gepard-type anti-aircraft self-propelled guns. However, for this, the FRG must first purchase ammunition (Berlin is negotiating with Brazil). She also spoke in favor of training Ukrainian instructors.

As a result of negotiations, the parties agreed to prepare a common document, from which references to specific types of heavy weapons disappeared, but the wording about the need to supply them remained.

What kind of weapons Germany will supply Ukraine

As part of the circular exchange, Slovenia is to transfer a large number of Soviet-designed T-72 tanks to Ukraine, and in return receive a Marder infantry fighting vehicle and a Fuchs wheeled armored car from Germany. According to Die Welt, a similar proposal was made to the Czech Republic. The list of weapons for exchange has already been transferred to Prague.

In addition, the defense concern Rheinmetall has applied to the federal government for permission to supply Ukraine with 88 used Leopard main battle tanks.

As of April 21, Germany has supplied Ukraine with 2,500 anti-aircraft missiles, 900 anti-tank grenade launchers with 3,000 rounds of ammunition, 100 machine guns and 15 bunker launchers with 50 rockets. In addition, Kyiv received 100,000 hand grenades, 2,000 mines, about 5,300 explosive charges and more than 16 million cartridges for handguns— from assault rifles to heavy machine guns.

What was said about arms supplies to Ukraine in Russia

After the Bundestag adopted a document on the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev published a post on his Telegram channel in which he called this decision “sad”. “The Bundestag approved the supply of heavy weapons to the Zelensky regime. Apparently, the German legislators are haunted by the laurels of their predecessors, who sat in the German parliament under a different name in the last century, — wrote Medvedev.

Earlier, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that weapons supplied by the West to Kyiv would not prevent Russia from achieving its goals in Ukraine. “Yes, there is resistance and material damage caused by the supply of these weapons. But these weapons are not enough to stop our advance, and they will not prevent us from achieving our goals, — Peskov said in an interview with the French TV channel LCI.

In turn, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the Russian armed forces would consider the warehouses of weapons supplied to Kyiv by NATO countries as their legitimate target on the territory of Ukraine. “Of course, these weapons will be a legitimate target for the Russian armed forces, which operate as part of a special armed operation. And warehouses, including those in the west of Ukraine, have become such a target more than once, — he said on the air of the program “Big Game” on the “First Channel” April 25.

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