Politics

German supply of heavy weapons now not ‘taboo’, international minister says – EURACTIV.com


With German chancellor Olaf Scholz more and more caught in a crossfire over his hesitancy to help Ukraine, international minister Annalena Baerbock confused on Wednesday (20 April) that the cargo of heavy weaponry would now be on the desk.

On Tuesday, Scholz mentioned that he supported the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine by NATO allies, however avoided confirming any deliveries of heavy armaments – like tanks or armoured automobiles – from Germany itself. Foreign minister Baerbock now emphasised that this hesitancy wasn’t on account of a scarcity of will, however the desolate situation of the Bundeswehr.

“Other partners are now supplying armoured vehicles. I would like to make it clear that this is not taboo for us either, even if it sometimes sounds that way in the German debate,” Baerbock mentioned on Wednesday at a press convention in Latvia.

Other EU-member states, just like the Czech Republic, Belgium and the Netherlands, have already introduced the deliverance of heavy weapons to war-torn Ukraine. While Baerbock emphasised that Germany would “act in concert” with its NATO companions, she mentioned that the Bundeswehr’s shares are depleted and that there isn’t a heavy weaponry prepared that “we can now deliver really quickly and without delay.”

Instead of offering Ukraine with the tools of the Bundeswehr, Ukraine shall be allowed to purchase army tools from German weapon producers – like Rheinmetall – and the German authorities will present €1 billion to pay for these shipments.

Open questions

However, there are a whole lot of questions that stay unclear relating to Germany’s willingness to help Ukraine with heavy weaponry.

Scholz’s pledge to help Ukraine with weapons shipments from the German business was famous within the Ukrainian capital Kyiv “with great disappointment and bitterness,” Ukrainian Ambassador to Berlin Andriy Melnyk mentioned yesterday. Scholz’s announcement left open extra questions than solutions, he added.

Melnyk additionally refuted the argument that the German Bundeswehr’s shares are depleted.

“The thesis that the Bundeswehr would no longer be able to deliver anything to Ukraine is not comprehensible,” Melnyk acknowledged. According to him, Germany would have greater than 100 Marder tanks at their disposal, in addition to 800 armoured automobiles that could possibly be delivered instantly.

However, as an alternative of delivering heavy weaponry to Ukraine immediately, Germany plans to help Eastern EU-member states in offering Ukraine with armaments of Russian and Soviet origin, saying that the Ukrainian army could be extra accustomed to a majority of these tools. In return, the German authorities needs to fill the rising gaps in army tools of its Eastern NATO companions with fashionable German weaponry.

“The equipment and weapons that can be quickly delivered from other countries will be delivered to Ukraine, and Germany will promptly send replacements to these countries,” economic system minister Robert Habeck informed RP on Wednesday.

Criticism over this strategy has additionally been mounting inside the German coalition. “I think it’s a little paternalistic to tell the Ukrainian military, that you can’t handle this,” Anton Hofreiter, chairman of the committee for Europe of the German Bundestag informed ZDF on Wednesday.

While this strategy to go for the supply of Soviet and Russian tools could be “good” basically, the German authorities ought to now concentrate on coaching the Ukrainian army to make use of fashionable tools for the time “when the Russian and Soviet material is shot to pieces,” he added.

Foreign minister Baerbock has already addressed this subject. She acknowledged that “we have made €1 billion available so that Ukraine can also procure more complex systems,” including that Germany will present “the systems, but also the training accordingly.”

However, it stays unclear whether or not the €1 billion in monetary help by Germany will also be used for the acquisition of heavy weaponry. On Tuesday, Scholz solely referred to anti-tank missiles, air defence tools, ammunition and “what can be used in an artillery engagement,” with out highlighting what artillery engagement would entail.

The German business would be capable of ship sure forms of heavy weaponry in a short while body. The German weapons producer Rheinmetall, for example, already introduced final week that it may ship Leopard 1 tanks in a matter of some weeks.

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]




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