War in Ukraine: New defense minister appointed in Germany, green light for arms delivery soon

War in Ukraine: New defense minister appointed in Germany, green light for arms delivery soon

Boris Pistorius, interior minister of the state of Lower Saxony, was appointed German defense minister on Tuesday, the government said in a statement, as Berlin is under pressure to step up its military support to Ukraine.

Weakened by a series of mistakes and criticism of the Bundeswehr’s ability to modernize, former Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht resigned on Monday.

Boris Pistorius has been Lower Saxony’s interior minister since 2013 and has long been considered a candidate for federal office. He ran for the presidency of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in 2019.

Berlin under pressure

His appointment comes as Western allies are pressuring Germany to give the country, including Poland and Finland, the green light to supply German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

The delivery of these main battle tanks will first be on Boris Pistorius’ agenda, said Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck on Tuesday.

Also read:
War in Ukraine: Like Poland, Finland also plans to deliver Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Kyiv

Berlin has so far refused to supply tanks or allow allies with them to do so, saying Western tanks should only be supplied to Ukraine if there is an agreement between key Kiev allies, particularly the United States .

Germany’s allies on Tuesday increased pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to allow German-made Leopard tanks to be shipped to Ukraine ahead of a crucial meeting of defense ministers on Friday.

Olaf Scholz is traveling to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday. “We hope and try to organize more support for Ukraine. We hope that some partners, allies, will donate tanks to Ukraine,” said Polish President Andrzej Duda in Davos.

“Firmly convinced” that Germany would provide heavy tanks

For his part, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda was “firmly convinced” that Germany would supply Ukraine with Leopard tanks. “We cannot afford such delays. It has to be quick,” he said, adding that tank supplies would be a strategic part of the next phase of the conflict.

Finland’s foreign minister said on Tuesday he was optimistic that a decision would be made and that his country was ready to get involved in tank supplies.

“We are currently having intensive discussions about what we as the European Union can do more than the Nordic countries to help Ukraine,” said Pekka Haavisto on the sidelines of the WEF.

Additional military aid to Ukraine is expected to be announced Friday at an allied meeting in Ramstein, Germany. “Important decisions are being made,” said Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares Bueno, adding that Madrid is not in a position to provide Leopard tanks at this time, which it also has.