Weapons for Kyiv: Germany still wavering

Against the backdrop of the rapidly deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised financial support but not the heavy weapons demanded by Kyiv. Like several other voices in the German press, he fears that weapons deliveries could further escalate the conflict. Europe's press for the most part finds this approach too hesitant.

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The Observer (GB) /

Scholz too cautious

Germany must finally live up to its European leadership role, The Observer demands:

“There's no doubt the 30-year, post-1991 period, when Germany thrived on cheap energy while its diplomats made nice with Putin, is over. It's certain, too, that Germany has suffered a rude geopolitical awakening. Berlin can no longer duck its wider leadership responsibilities, especially for European security. Pressed on these issues last week, Scholz said his biggest worry was nuclear war with Russia. ... This is eminently sensible. But it's possible to be too cautious and self-interested - and Scholz is far from getting the balance right.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Goodbye to the leadership role

Deutschlandfunk gives Germany's current foreign policy bad marks:

“Germany is about to lose its claim to political leadership in Europe. Or rather, it has already lost it. It seems that once again Berlin's main worry is not to upset Putin too much and it has lost sight of what's now at stake, namely giving Ukraine the best chances of achieving 'peace' - if you can call it that. ... The question of who will enjoy trust in Europe once the war ends will be decided as it rages. ... What can Germany bring to the table? Nothing for now. And that is not good news.”

Tageblatt (LU) /

The Ukrainians must receive support

Germany should give up its restrained stance, writes Tageblatt:

“In December 2002, the then German SPD defence minister Peter Struck justified the deployment of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan with the sentence: 'Germany's security is also being defended in the Hindu Kush'. At present, Germany's security, but also that of the Baltic countries, Poland and all other EU states, is being defended in Ukraine. There is a consensus that this also applies to our democratic, liberal political systems, which are a thorn in the Russian president's side. This fight is being fought solely by the Ukrainians. They should therefore receive the support they need for it.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Arms deliveries as leverage

The West should not put too much stock in Putin's threat of retaliation, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung believes:

“His army is stuck in Ukraine, and extending the war to the West is likely to be too much for him. But even if one takes this risk seriously, the arms deliveries can be used as leverage against Russia. If Putin does not want to see heavy weapons from the West in Ukraine, he should be asked for concessions in return: a ceasefire, for example, and negotiations on withdrawal. If the West, and above all Washington, really wants Putin not to win this war, it must use such leverage now.”