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Tanks in Ukraine: Germany will not be a “party” to the war, says ambassador

Germany’s ambassador to Canada has said NATO will not become “a party to the conflict” in Ukraine, although several countries have announced they will respond to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s requests for tanks, which could increase the risk of Russian escalation.

Sabine Sparwasser said it was a “real priority” for Germany to support Ukraine, but it was important to be in “coordination” with other allied countries.

“There is a clear line for Germany,” she told CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos in an interview that aired Sunday. “We don’t want to be a party to the conflict.”

“We want to support, we want to do whatever we can, but we, and NATO, don’t want to be a party to the war,” she also said. “That’s, I think, the line we’re trying to walk.”

Defense Minister Anita Anand announced this week that Canada will send four Leopard 2 battle tanks – with the possibility of sending more in the future – to Ukraine, along with members of the Canadian Armed Forces to train Ukrainian soldiers in their use.

Canada first needed permission from Berlin to re-export one of its 82 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. After a meeting of 50 defense leaders in Germany earlier this month, it was unclear whether Germany would give the green light.

But following what German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called “intensive consultations,” Germany announced on January 25 that it would send tanks to Ukraine, and the next day Canada followed suit. It now joins several other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Poland, which are sending several dozen tanks to Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this week that the tanks would allow Ukraine to “significantly enhance its combat capabilities”.

“It also demonstrates the unity and determination of NATO allies as partners in providing support to Ukraine,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sparwasser said Germany was “walking this fine line” by avoiding steps that could provoke escalation from Russia, while backing Ukraine and staying out of the EU itself. war.

“I think it’s very important to see that Germany is very determined and has a real priority in supporting Ukraine in its fight for freedom and sovereignty,” Sparwasser said. “But we also place a high priority on getting there with our friends and allies.”

Sparwasser said that despite Russia’s warnings that sending tanks to Ukraine would lead to escalation, Germany abides by international law – particularly Article 51 of the UN Charter – to provide support to the ‘Ukraine.

“Ukraine being attacked has the right to defend itself, and other nations can come in and provide Ukraine with the means to defend itself,” Sparwasser said. “So in terms of international law, this is a very clear case.”

She added that since “Russia does not respect international law”, it is a more effective deterrent for Russia, before a planned offensive in the spring, to see several countries coming together in support of Ukraine. .

With files from The Associated Press

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