New German defence minister to travel to Ukraine soon – Bild am Sonntag
“What is certain is that I will travel to Ukraine soon. Probably even within the next four weeks,” Pistorius told Bild am Sonntag in an interview published on Sunday.
On Friday, Germany and its Western allies reached no decision on whether Germany would agree to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, or allow other countries to do so, despite requests of Ukraine for modern tanks to boost its defense efforts.
Asked about the tanks, Pistorius said in the interview: “We are in very close dialogue with our international partners, first and foremost with the United States, on this matter.”
German sources have told Reuters they will allow German-made tanks to be sent to Ukraine to help defend it against Russia if the United States agrees to send its own tanks. But US officials have said that the administration of President Joe Biden is not ready to send its own tanks, including the M1 Abrams.
Pistorius became defense minister last week, months after Germany’s “Zeitenwende” – or a new era of more assertive foreign policy backed by increased military spending – that Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on 27 February, days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Pistorius also told Bild am Sonntag that he will aim for Germany’s military to take the leading role in the European Union.
“Germany is the biggest economy in Europe, so it should also be our goal to have the strongest and best equipped army in the EU,” he told the paper.
(Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by David Holmes)