Berlin Former Army General Hans-Lothar Domröse has welcomed the German decision to join other nations in supplying main battle tanks to Ukraine. If almost 100 tanks came together in the end, then that would make “a certain difference” for the course of the war in Ukraine, said Domröse on the sidelines of the Handelsblatt annual conference “Security and Defense” in Berlin.
The announced delivery does not mean the decisive turning point. But at least sporadically Ukraine could achieve success with the promised tanks. Read the full interview here:
Mr. Domröse, how do you rate the decision that Germany should now supply battle tanks after all?
I think it’s good that the agonizing decision-making process is now over and a good decision has been made for Ukraine.
Is it a decision that will really help Ukraine militarily?
If there are really several nations involved and we end up with almost 100 tanks, then that makes a certain difference. At least local successes are then possible because the tank is fast and technically superior to the Russian vehicles.
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Can the leopard be mastered within a short training period?
Anyone who has driven a tank up to now must of course be retrained, but he has mastered the basic principle. The same goes for the gunner, he’ll master it in a four-week intensive course. The Ukrainians have been at war since 2014, and they’re highly motivated. Logistics is the main issue, spare parts and maintenance.
How about ammo?
The industry has said it can produce ammunition in Germany. She only needs one order.
Do you think it makes sense that with the American Abrams and the Leopard two different tank models are now supplied?
Of course, one tank model for everyone would be ideal, but from a transatlantic perspective it’s not bad if American tank models are now also visible on the ground in Ukraine. The move is not unwise at all.
It was said that the Abrams was too complicated.
The Americans say it’s a bit more complicated. But the logistics and the training are not easy for the leopard either. But I have to say with great respect for the Ukrainians: They already have a total general store because every country supplies something different, but they can deal with it.
>> Read also: How Ukraine can conquer Crimea and what weapons it needs – a guest article
Does it hurt the Bundeswehr to have to give up tanks now?
If the Leopard 2A6 is delivered now, it will empty a company somewhere in Germany. It is important that everything that is given away so that Ukraine can hold out and retake its country is also replaced. And the industry says it is capable of doing that.
Should the industry now also be given the task of repairing older tank models such as the Leopard 1 so that more can be supplied later if necessary?
At your conference yesterday, the Rheinmetall boss said he didn’t have enough money to advance it. He needs a job and funds. It’s a political decision whether we want to deliver more than this one company.
The delivery of battle tanks will not be enough, they only work in combination with armored personnel carriers or artillery.
Ukraine is under heavy pressure in the area around Donetsk, Soledar and Bakhmut and is suffering high casualties, around 100 deaths a day. The task now is to stabilize the situation. But at some point the device that is to come will be shot or broken. That is the great task of politics, to look far, until autumn or next year. At some point Ukraine will need an armed force anyway, and it has to be western-equipped.
The long German reluctance was also explained by the argument that under no circumstances should Germany become a party to the war. Do you fear that Russia could see the main battle tank delivery as a reason to further escalate the war?
I don’t think that the German supply of tanks really affects President Vladimir Putin’s decisions. We are not a war party, but we are a moral party. We offered Ukraine an EU perspective, Ukraine is fighting for its freedom against an overpowering aggressor. We all support that and now we must also give Ukraine the means to retake its country.
Does this also include long-range missile systems or combat aircraft, as the Ukrainian President is demanding?
He who is at war and experiences great suffering every day can never have enough support. Hopefully politicians will address the question of what the next level is.
More: All developments in the Ukraine war can be found here in the news blog