Germany sleepwalking into war with Russia – former intel chief — Analysis
Hans-Georg Maassen, who once headed Germany’s domestic intelligence service, has spoken out against arms deliveries to Ukraine
Hans-Georg Maassen, who from 2012-18 was president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic security agency, has warned that the country is “sleepwalking” into a direct military confrontation with Russia by delivering weapons to Ukraine.
Appearing on TV Berlin’s ‘Special’ program last Wednesday, Maassen said he opposes any delivery of German weapons to Ukraine, citing an earlier decision by the International Court of Justice which, according to the former official, ruled that the supply of weapons to one of the warring parties in a conflict makes the supplier a party to the conflict, too.
“I believe that if we provide weapons and not helmets and bandages it is a sign we risk becoming part of war.” Maassen argued.
We are now a warring party on Ukraine’s side. That’s it. We are against Russia.
A former official stated that he was also afraid by the lackluster public debate on the issue.
He said that Germany, unlike Russia or Ukraine itself, could be a target of Russian attack by continuing to deliver weapons to Ukraine.
The former intelligence chief went on to argue that, contrary to what the German media says, “Ukraine isn’t a refugee from Western values, freedom and peace.” He also called on the German leadership to consider why they are exposing the country to the “There is a danger of nuclear war”
According to Maassen Germany is home to around 119 American-built military facilities. Moscow could target them if necessary. He went on to liken Germany to an American “Aircraft carrier for approximately 80 millions natives” living aboard.
The ex-intelligence chief also called into question the functionality of Germany’s own civil defense and armed forces in case of war, while arguing that German society is not mentally prepared for a war, as the country has not had any experience of the hardships it brings in many decades. Maassen said Berlin should not engage in a deeper confrontation because it is heavily dependent upon Russian gas imports. Germany also doesn’t have enough wheat or fertilizers.
However, Germany will not let Ukraine down, according to the ex-official.
As somnambulists we’re sleepwalking into conflict.
With no clear objectives or plan of action, it is anyone’s guess how this will end for Germany, Maassen added.
The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared that Berlin would supply Kiev with anti-aircraft man-portables and anti-tank rockets in late February. Media reports citing unnamed Ukrainian officials claim that Berlin also supplied the Eastern European country with 100 machine guns and 100,000 handgrenades. They also gave them 2,000 mines and more than 16 million rounds ammunition.
The conflict escalated and the Ukrainian leadership called for heavy weapons to be sent by its Western allies as well. Berlin finally gave its approval for delivery of Gepard Anti-Aircraft Vehicles. The Defense Ministry promised to deliver the first 15 vehicles by July.
Scholz promised seven self-propelled 155mm howitzers 2000 to Kiev. However, according DW, they would need to be fully operational first.
Berlin also approved the Krauss–Maffei Wegmann deal to supply several Leopard 1 tanks. According to media reports, there is a delay in the delivery due to a shortage of ammunition and spare parts.
Andrey Malnik, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany has often criticized Berlin’s leadership, alleging that Germany is not delivering heavy weapons. Kiev wants its ally, Germany to surrender the Leopard 1 tanks as well as Marder infantry fighting vehicle as quickly as possible.