The German government is playing an increasingly aggressive role in NATO’s proxy war against Russia, arming the pro-Western regime in kyiv to the teeth.
On Monday, Ukraine received its first Gepard anti-aircraft tanks from Germany. “Today, the first three Gepards have officially arrived,” Defense Minister Olexiy Resnikov announced on Ukrainian television. In addition, he said, tens of thousands of cartridges were also handed over. A total of 15 Gepards were due to arrive, Resnikov added.
This is the second delivery of so-called heavy weapons from Germany and the first delivery of Western-designed tanks to Ukraine. Like the seven 2000 self-propelled howitzers already handed over to kyiv by Berlin, the Gepard tanks are aimed at further aggravating the war.
The range of tanks against targets in the air can reach 5,000 meters. The rate of fire of the two tank guns is 550 rounds per minute each, giving a total rate of 1,100 rounds per minute. Tanks are to be used primarily against the Russian Air Force, but can also engage ground targets.
The actual number of tanks delivered could end up being even higher than Resnikov indicated. In May, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Social Democratic Party, SPD) promised kyiv many more Gepards after a closed-door government meeting at Meseberg Castle. To repel the Russian offensive in the Donbass, he said, the country wanted to “provide up to 50 Gepard tanks suitable for this purpose”.
Since then, Germany has literally flooded Ukraine with weapons. The official government tally of “lethal and non-lethal German military support to Ukraine” is now so long that only a fraction can be reproduced here. Among others, the following items have been delivered so far:
- 900 “Panzerfaust 3” bazookas with 3,000 shells
- 14,900 anti-tank mines
- 500 STINGER anti-aircraft missiles
- 2,700 STRELA anti-aircraft missiles
- 7 self-propelled howitzers 2000, including adaptations, training and spare parts (a joint project with the Netherlands)
- 21.8 million rounds of small arms
- 50 bunker breakers
- 100 MG 3 machine guns with 500 spare barrels and bolts
- 100,000 hand grenades
- 5,300 explosive charges
- 100,000 meters of detonating cord and 100,000 explosive charges
- 350,000 detonators
- 280 motor vehicles
- 7,944 RGW 90 Matador anti-tank weapons.
Additional supplies are planned to include:
- 53,000 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition
- 8 ground mobile radars and thermal imagers
- 3 self-propelled howitzers from the 2000s
- 4,000 rounds of anti-aircraft training ammunition
- 10 (+10 optional) autonomous surface drones
- 43 reconnaissance drones
- 54 M113 armored personnel carriers with armament (systems from Denmark, conversion funded by Germany)
- 30 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks comprising approximately 6,000 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition
- IRIS-T SLM air defense system
- COBRA Artillery Tracking Radar
- 3 MARS multiple rocket launchers with ammunition
- 3 armored recovery vehicles
- 5,032 man-portable anti-tank weapons
And even that is far from enough for the ruling class. Currently, key government officials are beating the drum for the direct delivery of Leopard 2 and Marder heavy battle and infantry tanks to Ukraine. So far, NATO powers have only delivered Soviet-designed main battle tanks to Ukraine through a “fill-in” procedure to Eastern European countries supplying the material. However, this model is not considered effective enough and has recently led to tensions between NATO countries in Eastern Europe and Germany. In particular, Poland blamed Germany for not replacing Polish tank deliveries to kyiv quickly enough.
Bundestag (parliament) defense committee chairwoman Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (Liberal Democratic Party, FDP) said on Monday that Germany had so far been unable to replace deliveries arms from its Eastern European NATO partners to Ukraine. as quickly as expected. “If this is a problem for our partners, we should stop the backfilling arrangement and deliver directly to Ukraine – if necessary also the Leopard 2. Time was running out,” Strack-Zimmermann told the dpa news agency.
Similar tones can be heard from the SPD. “The purpose of the replacement arrangement was mainly to support Ukraine in the short term with weapons that the soldiers there can use without training, but it hasn’t really worked so far,” Michael noted. Roth, Chairman of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee. He added that it was now “a new phase of the war”. Western arms deliveries have so far made a “real difference” in recent weeks, he said, adding that this must “now be resolutely pursued”.
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) said she had “great respect” for Poland because the country very quickly delivered the promised Soviet-designed T-72 tanks to kyiv. The “gaps” that had been created would need to be filled quickly as part of the backfilling process, she said. However, she was currently “unable to do so from the Bundeswehr [armed forces] stocks” if it wanted to “ensure national and alliance defence”. She was therefore “in talks with the industry” and was “certain that we would achieve a good result”.
In other words, the German defense industry will now be even quicker to adapt more German battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles and build new ones – for the allies in Eastern Europe. East of NATO, for Ukraine, but especially for the own German armed forces.
The Greens, who have been calling for more direct tank deliveries to Ukraine for several days, are acting particularly aggressively. “The backfilling arrangement is not working as planned,” Katrin Göring-Eckardt, deputy speaker of the Bundestag and leader of the longtime Greens parliamentary group, told the RND news agency. “The alternatives belong to the table. For example, supplying weapons directly, if we can. She said the criticism of the Polish government was “a wake-up call” and that Germany needed to organize “sufficient support for Ukraine with weapons”. After all, “arms deliveries help decide the length of war, decide human lives.”
The argumentation of the former green pacifists follows the murderous war logic of German militarism of the last century. The main representatives of the Imperial Empire and the Nazi Third Reich also justified the mobilization of the German war machine during the First and Second World Wars with the cynical argument of wanting to quickly achieve a “victorious peace” or a ” final victory”. In reality, they have prolonged wars and sacrificed millions of lives to the predatory interests of German imperialism.
This is also what is at stake today. The ruling class is well aware that massive support for Ukraine not only prolongs the war and the suffering it entails, but even evokes the danger of a nuclear World War III. Just weeks ago, President Joe Biden warned that the delivery of NATO fighter jets to Ukraine could “trigger World War III”. Now his administration plans to do just that. Over the weekend, National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby confirmed that the Pentagon was preparing to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine.
The German government participates in the madness of war because it wants to be at the forefront when it comes to distributing the spoils and subjugating the resource-rich and geostrategically central Eurasian landmass. Moreover, he sees in the NATO war an opportunity to finally throw overboard the last post-war shackles and to rise again as the leading European military power after the unspeakable defeats and crimes of the two world wars.
“After the German crimes of the Second World War”, it was “difficult to deal with anything military”, complained the President of the Bundestag Bärbel Bas (SPD) in a speech to Bundeswehr recruits last Wednesday. To then announce: “Ladies and gentlemen, our Bundeswehr must now be superbly equipped again.” The war in Ukraine, she said, is making us “realize again what we need the Bundeswehr for – after years of austerity, the suspension of conscription and the closing of bases”.
Bas has openly stated that the ruling class is concerned about the complete militarization of society and that new recruits may soon find themselves at war. “When you take the oath today, you know: right now in Ukraine, soldiers are defending their homeland and risking their lives to do so. And you know that the defense case can also happen for Germany,” she said without batting an eyelid. “With the turn of times and the special fund [of €100 billion for the Bundeswehr]”, she said, it was now possible “to turn more and more the hardships of war into a virtue of appreciation for the Bundeswehr”.
The occasion for his war speech was the swearing-in ceremony for new recruits on the 78th anniversary of the failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler by Wehrmacht officer Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg July 20, 1944. That the ruling class is now relying on July 20 assassins in its war offensive is a sign of the times. Stauffenberg and many of his followers were staunch militarists and themselves longtime supporters of Hitler. Contrary to official propaganda, their assassination attempt on the “Führer” had nothing to do with the struggle for “freedom” and “democracy”, but aimed to avoid complete military defeat in World War II and to protect the interests of German imperialism.