German delivery of heavy weapons no longer ‘taboo’, foreign minister says – EURACTIV.com

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

On Tuesday, Scholz stated 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 an absence 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 stated 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 stated that the Bundeswehr’s shares are depleted and that there is no such thing as 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 will probably 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 variety 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 trade was famous within the Ukrainian capital Kyiv “with great disappointment and bitterness,” Ukrainian Ambassador to Berlin Andriy Melnyk stated 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 may very well be delivered instantly.

However, as a substitute of delivering heavy weaponry to Ukraine instantly, Germany plans to assist Eastern EU-member states in offering Ukraine with armaments of Russian and Soviet origin, saying that the Ukrainian army can be extra conversant in a lot of these tools. In return, the German authorities needs to fill the rising gaps in army tools of its Eastern NATO companions with trendy 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,” financial system minister Robert Habeck informed RP on Wednesday.

Criticism over this strategy has additionally been mounting throughout 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 can be “good” usually, the German authorities ought to now give attention to coaching the Ukrainian army to make use of trendy tools for the time “when the Russian and Soviet material is shot to pieces,” he added.

Foreign minister Baerbock has already addressed this challenge. 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 trade would have the ability to ship sure varieties of heavy weaponry in a short while body. The German weapons producer Rheinmetall, as an illustration, 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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