Germany’s Allies Challenge Its Stances on Ukraine and Energy

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In their defense, Mr. Scholz and his defense minister, Christine Lambrecht, a fellow Social Democrat, argue that no country has provided Ukraine with modern Western tanks, including the United States, while insisting that the tanks are so complicated they would require months of training in how to use and maintain them.

Ms. Lambrecht admitted to gaps and bottlenecks at the same Körber-Stiftung Berlin Foreign Policy Forum last week. But she repeated the mantra that “we will give Ukraine what it needs in coordination with our allies.”

In other words, Germany will not be the first to provide Western tanks. But Washington, too, has been careful to calibrate the weapons it provides Ukraine, Mr. Schmidt has pointed out.

Annalena Baerbock, the foreign minister, a Green, has always pushed for more help for Ukraine. “We will supply Ukraine with weapons as long as it takes,” she said. “Ukraine is also defending Europe’s freedom.” The war, she said, “will shape German identity and European identity for years to come.”

Asked about polls that show German reluctance to see Russia as a military adversary, she said: “I’m a politician and not a psychiatrist.” But “people are afraid of war” and of their electricity bills, she said.

On energy, Germany has been sharply criticized within Europe for its unilateral decision to cushion the blow of higher energy prices to its own citizens and companies to the tune of €200 billion, which Mr. Scholz has called “a double ka-boom,” on top of €95 billion already provided.

The amount is somewhat inflated, and other countries, like France and Spain, have also announced state aid for energy costs. But the size of the subsidy is grating to other, poorer nations.


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