German Foreign Minister defends delay in sending armored vehicles to Ukraine | Ukraine

Germany’s foreign minister has insisted there is ‘no taboo’ in Berlin on sending armored vehicles to Ukraine, as her government defends itself against criticism that its delay in authorizing the delivery of heavy weapons undermines the unified position of the West.

Berlin hasn’t ruled out shipping tanks to Ukraine, ‘even though it may look like that in the German debate,’ Annalena Baerbock told a joint press conference in Riga with the Latvian business minister foreigners, Edgars Rinkēvičs.

However, as the German military is short of military hardware it can ship quickly without jeopardizing its own security commitments, the Green politician said her government has instead agreed to a swap system whereby it would help fill gaps in the arsenal of NATO and G7 states. who are able to help Ukraine faster.

“We support partners who can deliver weapons quickly and guarantee replacements,” Baerbock said at the start of his three-day tour of the Baltic states.

At a press conference on Tuesday evening, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed that his government plans to support Kyiv with cash rather than sending tanks or armored vehicles from its own stocks.

“We asked the German arms industry to tell us what material they can deliver in the short term,” Scholz said. “Ukraine has now made a selection from this list and we will provide them with the necessary money for the purchase.” The list of materials included anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition “that could be used in artillery combat”, he said.

The Ukrainian government has complained that Scholz’s list does not include the kind of heavy weapons that would allow its forces to mount a counteroffensive against Russian troops in the Donbass region, such as the Panzerhaubitze artillery system. 2000.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin, Andrij Melnyk, said on Tuesday evening that Scholz’s lack of direct material support had been met in Kyiv “with great disappointment and bitterness”.

Donbas region

Following Russia’s invasion of its eastern neighbor on February 27, Scholz announced an “epochal change” in Germany’s stance on arms exports and military spending. But critics in Europe and at home say the social-democratic chancellor has failed to follow through on his big announcements with the tough steps needed to send a message to the Kremlin and reassure NATO allies that Germany will is excluded from its reconciliation policy.

Berlin has already blocked European demands for an immediate embargo on Russian energy imports, saying it could not wean itself off Russian oil before the end of the year and Russian gas until mid-2024 without destabilize its economy.

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Tuesday’s speech appeared designed to assure a domestic audience that Germany’s three-party coalition government was acting in unison with its Western partners. “Germany alone would be a mistake,” Scholz said. “Those who are in a comparable situation to us act in the same way.”

However, this week several other NATO states communicated in clearer terms than Germany that they were ready to send heavy weapons to Ukraine. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Tuesday that the Netherlands would ship heavy equipment, including armored vehicles, while a US Pentagon official said on Monday that the first parts of his $800 million tranche (£613m) helicopters, howitzers and Humvees had already arrived on Ukrainian soil.

Baerbock said on Wednesday that Germany had chosen in the past not to make public all the weapons it sent to support Ukraine, adding that the government could help Kyiv maintain more advanced weapons systems and train soldiers to use them.

“We’ve delivered anti-tank missiles, Stingers and other things that we’ve never talked about publicly, so those deliveries could happen quickly,” she said.

Germany was better placed to support Ukraine’s defensive effort in the long term rather than the short term, Baerbock said. “It’s about the next three months and the next three years. This is where Germany can contribute more.

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