The US has no problem with supplying German Leopard 2 main battle tanks or German Patriot anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine. "Our position is the same in both cases: It is Germany's decision what Germany does," US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told journalists during her visit to Germany in Berlin.
The German government has done great things in providing military support to Ukraine, has shown leadership and has made very tough decisions. She assumes that Germany will continue to do everything that is possible and appropriate for Germany.
Scholz does not want to go it alone
Ukraine has been demanding the delivery of Leopard 2 main battle tanks from the federal government for months. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has repeatedly emphasized that Germany will not go it alone when it comes to supporting Ukraine with Western-style battle tanks. Deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann only confirmed this position on Friday. The principle of the federal government is "that we don't want to go it alone and won't do it and that we coordinate very closely".
The reason for this was a report in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", according to which US President Joe Biden's security advisor, Jake Sullivan, is said to have signaled to Scholz's foreign policy advisor Jens Plötner in October that the USA had no objections to the delivery of Leopard 2 . Hoffmann said: "There was never an urging from the American side or a request to supply Leopard 2 main battle tanks."
So far, no NATO state has made such tanks available to Ukraine. Ukraine also wants US-type Patriot air defense systems, which Germany has so far only offered to NATO partner Poland to protect the border area with Ukraine.
Ex-NATO boss: "Chancellor Scholz, what are you waiting for?"
Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen spoke out clearly in favor of the delivery of German battle tanks to Ukraine in an article for the "Tagesspiegel". The German government has hesitated for too long. It hid behind the fact that the US didn't send any tanks." That makes no sense, Rasmussen writes. "Military experts in Ukraine, the US and Europe agree that the German Leopard 2 tank is best for the conditions is suitable on site. It is also the most practical solution due to the existing logistics and repair infrastructure in Europe."
As several European countries have Leopard tanks, a German-led coalition could send them in now to prepare for a Ukrainian offensive in the spring, says Dane Rasmussen. "The US government has made it clear that it supports this idea. Chancellor Scholz, what are you waiting for?"
US Deputy Secretary of State: Nuclear risk has decreased
US Deputy Secretary of State Sherman held talks in the Chancellery and the Foreign Office on Friday. Regarding US arms sales to Ukraine, she said: "No country has an endless supply. So we try to provide the Ukrainians with what they need." Ukraine will not be encouraged or enabled by the US to attack Russian territory, she stressed. There have been several drone attacks on Russian territory in the past few days, the originators of which are unclear.
According to the US Deputy Secretary of State, the nuclear threat from Russia has decreased somewhat. "I think the general perception is that the risk is lower than it was some time ago," she said, adding, "We are talking about (Russia's President) Vladimir Putin." In his most recent statements on this last Wednesday, he sent out different signals.
Putin had prepared his country for a long war, but at the same time emphasized that he would only use nuclear weapons defensively. He dismissed fears of a nuclear first strike. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) also said this week, like Sherman, that the nuclear threat had decreased. "For the moment, we have taken a peg against it," Scholz told the newspapers of the Funke media group and the French newspaper "Ouest-France".