It is clear that Germany has to check with its partners every day how Ukraine can be further supported. But that is "always a weighing process that you should think about for a few days," said the SPD chairman. Klingbeil added: "When I talk to the people in the country, I rarely hear the question of when the next tank will finally be delivered - more often the concern that we will be actively drawn into the war."
Klingbeil said he was opposed to basing German leadership in Europe on individual weapon systems. "For the European Council to follow the Chancellor in his declaration of intent to admit Ukraine into the EU is leadership. For Olaf Scholz to fly to Beijing and get China on our side on the issue of the nuclear threat is leadership," he added.
He rejected the demand by the military commissioner Eva Högl (SPD) for a tripling of the Bundeswehr special fund to 300 billion euros. "We have just taken a huge step with the special fund of 100 billion euros," Klingbeil told the newspaper. At the same time, the Bundeswehr's problems are not only about a lack of money, but also about inefficient structures. "The system has to change. Before we call for more money, we have to become more efficient."
US Secretary of Defense Austin is expected in Berlin on Thursday. He is received by the new Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) shortly after he has taken his oath of office. On Friday, the 30 NATO countries and other countries in the so-called Ukraine Contact Group will discuss increasing military aid to Ukraine. At the meeting at the US military base Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate, the delivery of western main battle tanks is likely to play a major role.