German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under continued pressure to “do more” for the Ukrainians, particularly in the area of sending heavier weaponry to Kiev, with Bloomberg reporting at the close of this week that a “German arms manufacturer has asked the government to approve the export of 100 Marder tanks to Ukraine, Welt am Sonntag reports, without saying where it got the information.”

The arms maker is saying the tanks are “quickly available” and that the first wave delivery could be transferred to Ukraine “within a few weeks” – pending approval of the Scholz government. However, unlike the British and US governments, who haven’t been shy about sending and pledging unprecedented military aid to the Ukrainians, Scholz has loathe to do anything seen as escalatory by Moscow. He’s expected to reject the appeal by the arms maker.

“NATO must avoid a direct military confrontation with Russia that could lead to a third world war,” Chancellor Scholz was cited as saying in a new interview Der Spiegel when asked why Germany hasn’t sent heavy weapons.

He vowed to not be “irritated by shrill calls” to take potentially reckless action, according to more from the interview:

Asked in an extensive interview published on Friday why he thought delivering tanks could lead to nuclear war, he said there was no rule book that stated when Germany could be considered a party to the war in Ukraine.

“That’s why it is all the more important that we consider each step very carefully and coordinate closely with one another,” he was quoted as saying. “To avoid an escalation towards NATO is a top priority for me.

“That’s why I don’t focus on polls or let myself be irritated by shrill calls. The consequences of an error would be dramatic.”

Previously he appeared to focus his argument against sending heavy weaponry on the fact that Germany’s own military has depleted stocks and thus simply is incapable of sending its arms to Ukraine. But now his argument is clearly focused on avoiding direct confrontation with the Russians.

He also addressed calls for blocking Russian natural gas: “I absolutely do not see how a gas embargo would end the war. If (Russian President Vladimir) Putin were open to economic arguments, he would never have begun this crazy war,” Scholz said.

“Secondly, you act as if this was about money. But it’s about avoiding a dramatic economic crisis and the loss of millions of jobs and factories that would never again open their doors.”

Republished from with permission

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