Germany’s negative Press

In the background is of course the Ukraine war and all its repercussions, and the response it draws from the press, which tends to overwhelm us. The position of Germany is especially highlighted in the current crisis, and its hesitancy in severing ties with Russia completely. The government stresses that such a complete cut off of the supply of gas would have severe consequences for German industry, and not, as implied by national and international press, only on the warmth of homes. Considering its role as leading industrial nation in Europe, this could lead to a even greater recession in Germany than in Russia, which would be self-defeating from the perspective of German policy makers.

Another issue is the supply of heavy weaponry, and the handover to the Ukraine of German Marder infantry fighting vehicle (SPz), a product of Rheinmetall Landsysteme, which was for a long time the main weapon system of the German Army’s armoured infantry. The Ukrainian ambassador Melnyk has claimed repeatedly on television that Germany has 400 of them and yet could easily hand over 100. Inspector General Eberhard Zorn as well as his deputy Markus Laubenthal have said “You have to be serious about this if you want to be successful,” and have contrasted the desirable with the reality: Namely, that there are fewer tanks than Melnyk says or is told by the industry. In fact, Germany has continually neglected the requirements of its Bundeswehr and is at the moment refurbishing its ability to present a credible defence force.

There was another issue involving, among other things, Leopard 1 A5 tanks. However, one thing that was overlooked until recently, even on the part of Ukraine, was that no one knew that the vehicles had little ammunition. According to government sources, Rheinmetall was only able to supply 4,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition, and little more until weeks later. In the background, the German government was asking other nations whether they could supply ammunition: Turkey, Greece, Israel, Brazil and several other countries that drive or have driven the tank. But all of them declined – they did not want to or could not deliver. The same applies to old Gepard anti-aircraft gun tanks, the delivery of which has also been discussed behind the scenes. But again, the lack of ammunition makes the battle tanks useless. The fact that this wasn’t publicly made known is probably down to discretion on the part of the government.

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