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Pressure increases on Germany to send military aid to Ukraine

Pressure increases on Germany to send military aid to Ukraine

Ukrainian forces have deployed weapons provided by their Western allies against Russia. (File)

Berlin:

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz faces pressure at home and abroad over arms deliveries to Ukraine, with Kyiv claiming his refusal to send battle tanks will spur Kyiv’s counteroffensive against Russia.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday gave “disappointing signals from Germany” about supplying more weapons.

“There is no logical argument as to why these weapons cannot be supplied, only abstract fears and excuses,” Kuleba said in a Twitter post.

“What is Berlin afraid of, but not Kyiv.”

After initially refusing to provide lethal weapons to Kyiv’s forces at the outbreak of war, Germany has since increased arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Heaps of ammunition and rocket launchers were sent to Ukraine from arms manufacturers and the German army’s own stores, as well as dozens of tanks and artillery.

Kuleba’s angry defeat sparked a new debate about Germany’s perceived reluctance to support Kyiv in its efforts to repel the Russian invasion.

But Berlin has so far refused to send the sought-after Leopard battle tanks, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz saying on Monday that Germany would not be “alone” in delivering weapons without coordinating with allies.

‘Shortsighted’

Ukrainian forces deployed weapons provided by their Western allies to great effect in their counter-offensive in early September, when they regained control of large swaths of territory in the east. north and south of the country.

Germany has “delivered very effective weapons that are making a difference on the battlefield at the moment,” Scholz argued Monday.

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht stressed privately that “no country” is sending Western-made battle tanks to Ukraine, and she reiterated that Berlin has agreed to coordinate with its allies in delivering weapon.

But the US embassy in Berlin said “the decision on the nature of assistance is ultimately up to each country.”

“We call on all allies and partners to support Ukraine as much as possible in its struggle for democratic sovereignty,” the embassy wrote in a Twitter post.

Ukraine’s decision not to send weapons in the counterattack is “surprising and short-sighted”, a senior aide to the Ukrainian President Mykhaylo Podolyak told German daily Bild.

More tanks

German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall told broadcaster ARD that 16 Marder infantry fighting vehicles that it has restored at its own expense are “ready to be delivered” to Ukraine, if officials in Berlin allow it.

Besides the Leopard battle tank, the Marder tank is on the list of items that Ukraine has urged Berlin to supply.

Rheinmetall is preparing another 14 Marders, with the potential to supply 70 more in stock, ARD reported.

The fierce debate over Leopards and the Marders is reminiscent of the previous uproar over Germany’s initial stammering response to providing military support to Kyiv.

Scholz’s government only turned around after Ukrainian leaders publicly praised it, and the prime minister has since said Germany would take “special responsibility” to help Ukraine build up its artillery and air defense systems. me.

But Ukraine’s urgent pleas for Leopard and Marder tanks have so far remained unanswered, and even figures from the ruling coalition of Scholz’s Social Democrats, the liberal FDP and The Greens, are urging the prime minister to give up.

Berlin’s reluctance to send armor “at Ukraine’s expense”, the head of the parliamentary defense committee, FDP MP Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, told AFP.

Germany should “stop hiding behind other countries”, senior Green Party MP Anton Hofreiter told RND media network.

“Sooner or later, we will inevitably supply modern Western main battle tanks to Ukraine,” he said.

Michael Roth, the social-democratic chairman of the Bundestag’s foreign policy committee, told public radio station Deutschlandfunk that the deal with the allies on arms deliveries was not “in stone”.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a collaborative feed.)

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