Germany to send anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine as part of policy change | Germany
The German government has announced it will send a fleet of around 50 anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine as it tries to make up for criticism that it has been too slow to deliver military equipment to the war-torn country.
Christine Lambrecht, Minister of Defense, pledges on the Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, in a speech before representatives of 40 countries during high-level defense talks organized by the United States Air Force at its headquarters European in Ramstein, in the southwest. Germany.
In his speech, which was leaked to German media and widely broadcast on Tuesday morning, Lambrecht also announced a series of other measures, including participating in the training of Ukrainian soldiers in the use of the armored howitzer 2000, a weapon long-range, which the Netherlands has said it will deliver to Ukraine.
In what German media are calling an “about-face,” Germany is seeking to defend itself against harsh criticism from the United States and Europe, particularly the Ukrainian government, that it has been far too hesitant to deliver heavy weapons to the base, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said of his fears of widening the conflict. On Friday, Scholz said he feared triggering World War III and provoking Russia to use nuclear weapons if Germany made the wrong choices.
On Tuesday, the leader of the conservative opposition alliance, Friedrich Merz, accused Scholz of being “irresponsible”, arguing that not handing over the arms would render null and void Germany’s policy of deterrence, in particular in the Baltic region.
In an interview over the weekend, Merz said: “Criticism abroad is growing and Germany is increasingly isolated.”
In February, Scholz announced a €100billion (£84billion) package of measures to bolster the German military in what he called a Zeitenwende or a new era in German foreign policy. However, a growing number of critics accused him of failing to deliver on his promise and argued that only when Germany takes a more active role in arming Ukraine will it be taken seriously and not considered too timid towards Russia.
Other aspects of Germany’s involvement in the conflict, such as the fact that it has so far officially taken in just under 400,000 Ukrainian refugees in the past two months, according to German police, n have not been widely recognized. The unofficial figure is believed to be considerably higher as newcomers are not required to register immediately.
At the meeting Lloyd Austin, the US Defense Secretary, is expected to be joined by almost all of his EU and UK counterparts, as well as Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and the head of the ‘NATO, Jens Stoltenberg. Earlier, the US government had made it clear that it expected European countries to supply more armaments. Washington has already pledged $3.2 billion worth of equipment.
The delivery of the Gepard systems has been under discussion for weeks in Germany. Munich-based armored vehicle manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) announced a few weeks ago that it was ready to revamp the Gepards. They were previously in the possession of the German army for whom KMW designed them in the 1970s. They would, after a short overhaul period, be ready for delivery to Ukraine.
The systems were destined for Brazil and Qatar, where they were to be used as part of security measures for the Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup respectively, according to Spiegel magazine.
The government’s decision also appears to have been an attempt to pre-empt a motion due to come to parliament this week, backed by the Conservative opposition, as well as the Greens and the pro-business FDP, both in stage three. coalition with the Scholz Social Democrats (SPD), which would ask the government to finally deliver heavy weapons, including combat vehicles and armored personnel carriers, as well as artillery, directly to Ukraine .
On Friday, in response to criticism, he had been too tentative and vague in his decision-making on Ukraine, including plans to do without Russian gas supplies, Scholz said in an interview. He added that he was not motivated by fear, but by “political responsibility”, saying he was “doing everything to avoid an escalation which could lead to a third world war”.
SPD Federal Chairman Saskia Esken said on Monday that Germany was not expected to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine, but that the government wanted to participate in a so-called Ringtäusch, or multilateral exchange, instead. The three coalition partners have called for a parliamentary motion that would give the green light to Germany to supply heavy weapons via an exchange between countries, mainly involving Eastern European states.
Gepards can be deployed on land and air targets including planes, helicopters, rockets and drones at a range of 3.7 miles (6 km).
Meanwhile, other manufacturers in the arms industry have already applied for export permits for a variety of German-made heavy weapons systems in anticipation of an increase in the German government’s willingness to act, which was influenced by a nation’s deep anguish over its murderous Nazi past.
Rheinmetall, a Düsseldorf-based arms manufacturer, has applied to the German Security Council, under the chairmanship of Scholz, for permission to export 100 decommissioned Marder Panzers, an infantry fighting vehicle that played a pivotal role in mechanized infantry of the German army over the past five decades. These are expected to be refurbished over the next few months, with the first ready to ship within the next two months. Training soldiers in the use of armored vehicles is also expected to take several weeks.