Germany has received a historic chance to shed all negativity that has been trailing behind the nation since World War 2 by demonstrating leadership in a free and democratic Europe in tackling the threat of a modern-day neo-Nazism that has emerged in Putin’s Russia.
Ukraine’s success in liberating its territories has sent a signal to its western allies and partners to boost supplies of heavy weapons to this country. The efforts undertaken by the Ukrainian army proved that the Ukraine case is totally different from that of Afghanistan. A strategic error in intelligence assessments of the effectiveness of security assistance to Kabul was reflected at the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in decisions regarding the advisability of helping Kyiv resist the onslaught.
However, the skill shown by Ukrainians in mastering new models of weapons, supplied by NATO member states not only led to the liberation of massive swaths of Ukrainian lands, but also the annihilation of some 30% of Russian invasion forces. The war in Ukraine provided an opportunity for the West to realistically assess the potential of Russian forces, which was overestimated due to the World War 2 experience, as well as massive propaganda, and prevailing Cold War-era theoretical models. Today we got the opportunity to both test the effectiveness of our weapons in a full-scale conventional war, but also to improve the tactics of military operations, which could not be assessed on the example of local conflicts or individual missions.
The war in Ukraine showed us that the military potential of some NATO member states turned out to be insufficient, and that the existing stocks of weapons and their very types were not quite suitable for a new type of war.
Obviously, in Europe’s potential war theater, Russia is the only threat that today can be neutralized for at least a decade ahead. This task can be solved through more significant deliveries of heavy weapons by the leading European powers. This will not only provide much required support to Ukraine in regaining all of its territories that are currently held by Russia, but will also allow to re-equip and modernize NATO armies, expanding defense orders, which will provide impetus to the European economy and ensure further technical development of its industry. Representatives of a number of political parties in Germany have already realized such a need. Among them is Michael Roth of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), who says Ukraine needs weapons that will allow its forces to liberate the Russian-captured territories and retain control of these areas. The chair of the Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann with the business-oriented Free Democrats (FDP), believes Germany should immediately play its part in Ukraine’s successes by supplying Marder infantry fighting vehicles and Leopard 2 main battle tanks.
Providing assistance to Ukraine is primarily related to the security of the whole continent. For Germany, sending heavy weapons is much less risky than inevitably having to involve own troops in combat in the event of Russian armed aggression towards the Baltic states or Poland. Agnieszka Brugger, a defense and security expert with the Alliance 90/The Greens faction in the Bundestag, also believes that uncapped arms supplies to Ukraine are important for ensuring order on the continent. Her position is shared by Member of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee Roderich Kiesewetter, who believes that a successful counteroffensive requires all possible military support. According to the lawmaker, Germany should “immediately” supply Ukraine with IFVs and MBTs, without which Ukrainian servicemen are “often defenseless in an offensive.” Kiesewetter urged Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to abandon their cautious approach to supplying Western-made tanks to Ukraine. It is quite clear that the European Union member states may be faced with the need to employ heavy armored vehicles in the region only in the event of a direct clash with Russia. But this threat can be eliminated. This can be done outside Western Europe – with the help of Ukraine.
This position is shared by the Christian Democratic Union’s foreign policy expert Norbert Röttgen, who believes that the Federal Government bears a historical responsibility to supply Ukraine with all the weapons that can possibly be supplied, including tanks from the Bundeswehr stocks. SPD Chairman Lars Klingbeil shares this opinion, called for an immediate review by Western powers of further arms supplies to Ukraine. In his view, the ongoing liberation by Ukraine of its territories is a huge success, which is also due with Germany’s arms supplies to the embattled nation. Thus, after the two world wars of the 20th century, Germany is becoming one of the guarantors of European security, which is extremely important for strengthening NATO’s potential and a peaceful life in European countries, which, due to their territorial size and population, have a limited potential to withstand full-scale aggression. In this regard, Berlin should hear out the Co-Chairman of the Alliance 90/The Greens, Omid Nouripour, who says Germany needs to immediately bring to the fore the needs of Ukraine in terms of weapons before the winter sets in, so that Kyiv can liberate as much of its territories as possible. Defeating Russia in this war will enable the West and Europe, first of all, to minimize threats to the military and economic security of the entire region, undermine the Kremlin’s capacity to meddle in the affairs of sovereign states, run subversive operations against them, influence national governments, and employ energy blackmail against the European Union.