German Minister of Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock speaks during the press conference after meeting with her Czech counterpart Jan Lipavsky, on July 26, 2022, in Prague, Czech Republic. CTKxPhoto/KaterinaxSulova CTKPhotoP2022072602134 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxCZExSVK

With the Czech Republic, another eastern NATO partner wants to take part in the controversial tank ring swap. Germany is supplying replacements to countries that are equipping Ukraine with heavy weapons.

The negotiations between Berlin and Prague are about to be concluded, said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) on Tuesday during a visit to Prague. The agreement could be a model for contracts with other countries: “We have to look carefully at how we can transfer this to other countries so that deliveries can take place quickly.”

In May, Berlin and Prague had agreed in principle to provide the Czech Republic with 15 German Leopard 2 tanks for the delivery of 20 Soviet T-72 tanks to Ukraine. Details are still being negotiated. Poland had previously shown itself to be dissatisfied with deliveries promised from Germany and even accused Berlin of deceptive maneuvers.

In the traffic light coalition, the debate on direct supplies of tanks to Ukraine continues. Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt (Greens) had brought up a direct delivery of German heavy weapons.

Similar demands also come from the FDP leadership. “What has happened so far is simply too little and too slow. Nobody – neither in Germany nor in NATO – can be satisfied with that,” FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai told Tagesspiegel: “The option of directly delivering battle tanks and armored personnel carriers to Ukraine must be on the table.”

The concept of the ring exchange must be evaluated and adapted to reality. It is “essentially important” that Germany supports Ukraine quickly and actively. “Time is of the essence at this stage of the war,” he added.

The SPD foreign politician Nils Schmid warned against this step. “A direct supply of tanks to Ukraine would weaken Germany’s ability to defend the alliance, which our eastern partners are currently dependent on,” he told the newspaper.