EU and Germany supply heavy weaponry to Kiev to “force a defeat of Russia”

The European Union is massively expanding its arms supplies to Ukraine. This was decided by the EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday. In concrete terms, it was agreed that the joint military aid would be increased by €500 million to €1.5 billion, said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell after the meeting.

The EU powers left no doubt as to what their goal is: They want to inflict a military defeat on Russia in Ukraine. “Put the emphasis on weapons deliveries,” Borrell explained after he travelled to Kiev with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last weekend. Sanctions were “important,” but would “not solve the problem of the Battle of Donbas.” Let it be clearly stated, Borrell said, “The war will be decided in the battle for Donbas.”

Annalena Baerbock in Luxemburg on April 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke at last week’s NATO summit in Brussels of the looming massive confrontation. “The Battle of Donbas will remind you of the Second World War with its large-scale operations and manoeuvres, the use of thousands of tanks, armoured vehicles, aircraft and artillery,” he said.

This is exactly what the EU and NATO powers are preparing for with the delivery of arms to the Ukrainian army. It is none other than German imperialism, which waged a war of annihilation against the Soviet Union during the Second World War, that is increasingly taking the lead. After initially hesitating, the German government is now advocating the delivery of heavy weaponry to defeat Russia in Donbas.

“What is clear is that Ukraine needs more military equipment, especially heavy weaponry,” said Green Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on the sidelines of the EU Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. “Now is not the time for excuses, but the time for creativity and pragmatism. And it is precisely with a view to issues such as replacement materials and training that it is important to support Ukraine together as quickly as possible.”

Germany has already massively supplied weapons to Ukraine, including thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. The weapons also go to far-right forces within the Ukrainian armed forces and the so-called territorial defence of the country. The planned delivery of tanks and other heavy weaponry will intensify the war and create a military conflict with the nuclear-armed power Russia.

According to a report by the daily Handelsblatt, the German arms giant Rheinmetall is preparing to supply tanks to Kiev. According to Group CEO Armin Papperger, this includes the “Leopard 1” battle tank, the predecessor model of the “Leopard 2” currently used by the German army. “The first Leopard 1 could be delivered in six weeks,” stated Papperger. In total, Rheinmetall could hand over up to 50 tanks of this type to Ukraine.

Also under discussion is a delivery of the “Marder” armoured personnel carrier. Here, too, “Rheinmetall has declared its willingness to deliver 50 to 60 decommissioned Marder armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine,” wrote Handelsblatt. According to Papperger, the first 10 to 20 could be ready within six weeks.

An aggressive campaign is underway in the political establishment and the media to deliver the heavy equipment as quickly as possible. “Germany must now act quickly,” urged Reinhard Veser in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “To force a defeat of Russia in this war requires the combination of economic pressure on Russia and military support for Ukraine.”

In a detailed article, Der Spiegel praised the merits of German tanks in the war against Russia. “In Ukraine, the Marder could play an important role” and “help the armed forces of Ukraine in the fight against the Russian invaders.” The Marders would roll into battle “alongside main battle tanks” and secure them “together with other military vehicles.” They would “bring groups of tank grenadiers forward into battle” and “in the offensive” they would try to “take out enemy tanks with attacks.”

The activities and statements of leading government politicians indicate that arms deliveries are being prepared in a timely manner. “If the Ukrainians want the tank [Leopard 1], and they have signalled this to me, then we should find a way to make it happen,” said Marcus Faber, defence policy spokesman for the Free Democratic Party (FDP) parliamentary group in the German parliament.

Germany made “an undertaking” by deciding to support Ukraine with arms. As a result of this obligation to continue to support the country, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck stated, “Weapons must be delivered quickly, because the attack of the Russian troops on the east of Ukraine will soon be imminent.”

Significantly, the chairpersons of the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Europe—Michael Roth (Social Democrats, SPD), Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP) and Anton Hofreiter (Greens)—travelled to Ukraine yesterday for talks. The three politicians from the “traffic light” coalition partners are vehement advocates of “heavy” arms deliveries and can hardly control their demands for war against Russia.

In addition to the Marder, Hofreiter also pleaded for the supply of “heavy sniper rifles such as the G-82” before his departure. This had a “12.7-millimetre projectile” and could “break the armoured vehicles of the Russian National Guard.” Strack-Zimmermann informed the Ukrainian ambassador and notorious Russian hater Andrij Melnyk in Der Spiegel ’s “Spitzengespräch” discussion format: “If you send tanks, you have to want to win. ... Their soldiers must master this, otherwise they would really be cannon fodder for ‘the Russians.’”

In a joint statement on Tuesday, Hofreiter, Strack-Zimmermann and Roth once again spoke out in favour of further arms deliveries and a halt to imports of Russian oil as quickly as possible and a clear EU perspective for Ukraine. “There are likely to be broad majorities in the federal parliament for this. Germany must take on even more responsibility,” they demand in the document, according to the German Press Agency (DPA).

At the same time, the three deputies criticised the refusal to invite Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), who had planned a visit to Kiev together with the president of Poland and the three Baltic states. Although Steinmeier played a central role as German foreign minister in the right-wing coup in Kiev in 2014, he also maintained diplomatic relations with Russia, for which he was criticized despite public apologies.

On Tuesday evening, the Ukrainian ambassador to Berlin announced that Chancellor Olaf Scholz had been invited to Kiev. “We also communicated this in such a way that my president and the government would be very happy about it,” said Melnyk on German television. The visit was supposed to be about how Germany can support the Ukrainian army with “heavy weapons” in the fight against Russia.

Scholz also called for further arms deliveries on Monday. “In the past, we have armed Ukraine with weapons and equipped it with anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and ammunition, and many other things. And we will continue to support Ukraine,” Scholz stressed. This is done “in close cooperation” and in consultation “with all our friends.” There will be “no going it alone, but always joint and carefully considered action.”

This amounts to a warning. Currently, NATO and the EU are “acting together” to flood Ukraine with weapons and to use Putin’s reactionary invasion as a pretext for widespread war against Russia itself. The danger of a third world war waged with nuclear weapons is thus increasing immensely.

The planned arms deliveries are done “out of good ethical intent,” but are potentially a “path to the third world war,” warned the military-political adviser of former chancellor Angela Merkel, former brigadier general Erich Vad, in comments to the DPA. In doing so, he indirectly admitted that the imperialist powers are the main warmongers. “We had exactly the same acceptance of thousands of dead civilians in Iraq, in Libya, in Afghanistan,” he said. So far, the so-called collateral damage in Ukraine has in fact been much lower than in Iraq or Afghanistan.