CDU foreign policy expert Roderich Kiesewetter believes that the US will soon call on Germany to become more involved in the affairs of Ukraine. “If we deliver Western main battle tanks to Ukraine, it would improve the survivability of the Ukrainian armed forces,” says Kiesewetter in an interview with ntv.de. – Americans here expect more from Germany.
Kiesewetter accuses the chancellor of “allowing himself to be alarmed by the Russian narrative that the use of German tanks against the Russian army would be a provocation.” The aim must be for Ukraine to “at least restore the borders of January” – and for Russia to lose the war. This means that “there is clearly no regime change from the outside, because no one is attacking Russia.”
ntv.de: You participated in a security conference in Halifax and before that in Washington. Are you afraid that the new Republican majority in the US House of Representatives will try to prevent support for Ukraine?
Roderich Kiesewetter: No, on the contrary. We met with several Republican senators and congressmen who made it very clear that they support Ukraine. Support for Ukraine in the US is bipartisan and will not fade. Rather, I think the Republicans will demand more from Europe, especially Germany. Our talks with the foreign and defense ministries also revealed that Washington would like more German support, such as the delivery of battle tanks.
How do you assess US President Joe Biden’s position on the war in Ukraine? He always says that “nothing should be decided about Ukraine without Ukraine” – but the US does not supply Ukraine with long-range HIMARS munitions for fear that Ukraine will use them to fire at targets in Russia.
In doing so, the United States wants to make it clear that it supports Ukraine in its goal of restoring territorial integrity without contributing to unnecessary further escalation. This is a de-escalation step that Russia has not yet appreciated, on the contrary: the Russians in Ukraine have until the end of October. attacked about 22,000 civilian targets but only about 300 military targets. Therefore, I can imagine that the US will reconsider its position.
Why does the USA not produce tanks for Ukraine?
I also asked the people I talked to in Washington and Halifax. The Americans would be willing to supply main battle tanks. In theory, the Abrams main battle tank would be the choice. Three arguments speak against it. First of all, the Americans say that Abrams would have to create separate logistics chains, since there are none in Europe. It would be different with Leopard as it is used by 13 European countries. The Marder armored personnel carrier is also widely distributed in Europe. The second argument is consumption, which is much higher with the Abrams or the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle than with the Leopard and Marder. If the Abrams runs on kerosene, they need at least two and a half times the size of the Leopard. Bradleys and Abrams are also much more useful than our relatively tough Leopard tanks, as the Americans learned the hard way in the Gulf Wars.
And the third argument?
… also understandable. Abrams weighs more than 60 tons. The Americans have limited transport capacity – for the same transport capacity they can deliver three HIMARS on their ships or in their transport planes.
Is Washington putting pressure on the federal government to supply Ukraine with battle tanks? So far, the only public statement on the matter has come from the US ambassador in Berlin, who said in September that her expectations for Germany are “even higher” than they were before.
There are very clear indications that the US government is allowing the Germans to do what they are doing. But they hope, as a sign of burden-sharing, that Germany will jump over its shadow and finally deliver tanks. That’s what I was told by senior interlocutors at the US State Department and the Pentagon, as well as the Democratic senators I spoke with. They have made it very clear that they expect that. I hope that Congress will soon act accordingly and encourage Germany. For the time being, Washington believed that Germany…