German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was urged by members of his coalition on Thursday to give the green light to sending tanks to Ukraine, after France announced the delivery of light combat tanks.
"The argument constantly put forward by the chancellery that Germany should not go it alone is absolutely over," the chairman of the Defense Committee at the Bundestag, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, a senior executive, told AFP. of the liberal party FDP, member of the coalition of the German chancellor.
Paris has promised Ukraine to deliver French-made AMX-10 RC light battle tanks, in response to kyiv's pressing needs to confront the Russian army.
Ukraine's European allies have delivered Soviet-designed tanks before, but never yet Western-built tanks, despite repeated requests from kyiv.
"Once again, France is assuming the role that was expected of Germany and is taking the lead itself," lamented Ms. Strack-Zimmermann, for whom "the ball is now in Berlin's court."
Ukraine must "win to also defend our freedom and our values - and this can only be done with the support of tanks", she insisted.
Alexander Graf-Lambsdorff, a diplomat also a member of the FDP and possible next German ambassador to Moscow, for his part said he expected Thursday morning that the subject would be discussed within the coalition.
The German government has so far always refused to deliver tanks on the pretext that such a measure should be decided in consultation with the Western allies and that Germany and NATO should not be directly involved in the war. between Russia and Ukraine.
In particular, kyiv is asking Berlin to send Leopard 2 tanks.
Chancellor Scholz's social-democratic party SPD is itself opposed to such deliveries, unlike its liberal and ecologist partners.
“We, the German government and the German chancellor, are always in close consultation with our partners and friends, in particular with the Americans”, explained Thursday morning on the NTV channel Saskia Esken, one of the leaders of the SPD, stressing that Berlin had “supported Ukraine from the beginning by supplying it with weapons”.
"We will continue to do so as long as necessary, depending on military developments and needs," she said.
This debate comes at a time when the Minister of Defense, Christine Lambrecht (SPD), is weakened by a video of greetings deemed failed in which she says in particular thank you for all the "encounters" that the conflict in Ukraine has allowed her to make.