The head of the Munich Security Conference, Christoph Heusgen, has warned the German government against hasty rejection of weapons demands from Ukraine.
"We're constantly ruling out something that we're willing to do in the end. That makes us unbelievable. This rush to say no should finally stop, it's harmful," Heusgen told the newspapers of the Bayern media group. You have to change your perspective and evaluate what is possible and sensible under international law, politically and militarily.
Referring to the debate over the possible delivery of fighter jets to Russia-attacked Ukraine, Heusgen said: "As for planes, their delivery is legitimate under Article 51 of the UN Charter." This does not make you a party to the war. "If we still had Russian planes from the GDR era that can be operated by Ukrainian pilots, I would say: of course we'll make them available to the Ukraine." But now it's about American F-16 jets, which Germany doesn't have at all.
Critics fear escalation after possible fighter jet delivery
The federal government has so far refused to supply fighter jets to Kyiv. US President Joe Biden also ruled out passing on F-16 jets. French President Emmanuel Macron, on the other hand, did not give a categorical refusal, but said that the weapons should not have an escalating effect and should not touch Russian soil, but should only be used for defense.
Critics of possible deliveries of fighter jets argue that Ukraine could use such jets to attack targets on Russian territory and thus escalate the situation. Security conference head Heusgen said: "If the Ukrainians took action against military installations in Russia with weapons, this would be in accordance with international law." However, he doubts that the Ukrainians would even try such a thing. They knew "about our sensitivities" and about the powerful Russian anti-aircraft defense.
"Basically: We keep hearing that Ukraine shouldn't provoke. But who is provoking here? Russia has invaded the country, has broken all the norms of international law, commits war crimes every day. 15 million Ukrainians have had to leave their homeland. We only support the Ukrainians in their right to self-defense," said Heusgen.