Mr. Faber, you had to resign as defense policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group because you were dissatisfied with the Chancellor’s statements and left the meeting…
It is a sovereign decision of the parliamentary group who speaks for them. And I offered my resignation, which was accepted. Nothing has changed in my content-related position. I continue to lead the working group on defense of the FDP parliamentary group.
Now there is an agreement on the Bundeswehr special fund, but the 100 billion will be offset against the defense budget in order to meet NATO’s two percent target.
If you listen to the Chancellor’s speech again on February 27, it’s very clear that it’s 100 billion and that’s going to get us to 2 percent of gross domestic product in defense spending on a sustained basis. So that the 100 billion will be used to achieve the goal. Mathematically, the 100 billion are enough for five years, after which the two percent must be managed entirely through the federal budget.
You insist that Ukraine be helped more than before, especially because the situation in Donbass is dramatic and Russia has gained ground. What do you expect from the chancellor in his Bundestag speech on Wednesday?
We are now over three months after the start of the war. You have to do the turning point when you announce it. And the special fund is an important step here. But Ukraine would be in an even worse situation today if everyone had acted as Germany did. Fortunately, many states equipped and trained Ukraine before the start of the war, which is one of the reasons why Kyiv, for example, could be defended.
It is still true that Ukraine needs more military material. They have staff, staff is getting scarce on the Russian side. The material is the problem. Ukraine needs more artillery. You need armored vehicles and quite a lot of them. Above all, you need ammunition.
How exactly should one react to the Russian warfare in the Donbass, which now relies heavily on artillery and merciless destruction?
This is a total war of destruction on the Russian side. Entire cities are simply wiped out in terms of area. Accordingly, the Ukrainians need stand-off weapons and they do not have them in sufficient numbers, not in sufficient range. Keyword rocket artillery. And that also requires armored vehicles to withstand carpet bombing.
So Marder armored personnel carriers, for example, the delivery of which has not yet been approved by the Chancellery.
Yes for example. Germany could do a lot in cooperation with industry. We have the Puma that will be introduced, the Boxer that will be introduced and then the Marder and Fuchs, vehicles that will be replaced in the next few years anyway and where certain numbers of vehicles could certainly be made available to Ukraine now.
Did you also understand the chancellor in the Defense Committee that because of NATO agreements, for example, no main battle tanks like the Leopard should be delivered?
He didn’t say that. He said that you don’t see Abrams (US Army main battle tanks) and Leclerc (French main battle tanks) in Ukraine and that what other countries do, we do too. And I would like to point out that other countries such as Poland or the Czech Republic are supplying battle tanks to Ukraine. And if our neighboring countries like Poland and the Czech Republic can do it, why can’t we?
You mean the T72 of Soviet design. It is argued that western battle tanks have greater destructive power and could possibly be seen as entry into the war by Vladimir Putin.
For example, I was recently in Flensburg. There are 100 Leopard 1 tanks, so these are now superior western main battle tanks with greater destructive power – when you look at them, think about it differently. These are battle tanks. Yes, and they still work. Yes, and they would also do their job there and also need a certain amount of training time. But the Ukrainians show that they are very capable of learning something like this. And especially when you’re slow, you have to start early. Export applications that were submitted on March 1st could be decided more quickly, and staff could have been trained by now, at the end of May. If other allies supply armored vehicles and tanks, so can we.
If you could wish for something from Olaf Scholz, what would be the most urgent?
So I would wish that he would implement the turning point that he announced with full force. Actions speak louder than words. This is a situation where people are sitting in the basements of their homes while their apartment blocks are being systematically bombed. We can’t talk or not talk about it for weeks, but the turning point must be implemented. And now.