Germany Stays Reluctant to Send Armor to Ukraine

Illustrative photo credit: Ralph Zwilling, Tank-Masters.de
Illustrative photo credit: Ralph Zwilling, Tank-Masters.de

The G7 meeting in Brussels on April 19 should've marked another step in Ukraine-Germany's relationship with Germany offering free military equipment from its industries but in the end, Ukraine got nothing it really needed

German armament industries were asked to form a special list of materiel that can be supplied to Ukraine in a short term so that Ukraine could pick and get what is needed, said Olaf Scholz, the Chancellor of Germany, at the press conference following the G7 meeting. Germany was supposed to purchase and deliver the materiel to Ukraine. The list was completed, but all the necessary equipment turned out to be checked out by Germany's Defense Ministry.

In an interview to ZDF telecom broadcaster, Ukraine's ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk said the list of weapons provided by Germany didn't include the heavy weapons that Ukraine requested, namely the Leopard tanks, Cheetah tanks or Marders.

Read more: What Are Real Ukraine’s Military Needs Like?

"We believe that the Bundeswehr (German army) would be capable of supplying us with the weapons we need right now. Just one example: Marder, the armored personnel carrier. According to our information, the Bundeswehr has over 400 in number. And only a small proportion of them are involved in missions, in Lithuania, for instance," said Melnyk.

Bundeswehr Army general Markus Laubenthal said Germany cannot send the weapons Ukraine wants, as this would weaken Germany's own defense capabilities, France 24 reports. Olaf Scholz provided his own, political reasoning. In a Tuesday evening speech, he said Germany does not want to "go it alone" and send heavy weapons without the backing of its allies.

Defense Express / Marder 2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle / Germany Stays Reluctant to Send Armor to Ukraine
Marder 2 Infantry Fighting Vehicle / Photo credit: Fighting-Vehicles.com

However, this does not fit with the statements and announcements made by some allies, Die Welt noted. The US government and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the contents of their military aid to Ukraine which include armored vehicles. Great Britain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have announced that they will provide heavy weapons.

"With each new declaration by the allies, it becomes clearer that the position of the federal government is increasingly going it alone," the newspaper concludes.

German tabloid Bild compared the list of requests submitted by ambassador Melnyk and the one provided by the German federal government. Turns out, that the Federal Ministry of Defense removed all heavy weapons from Germany's "industrial list". Although German industry is ready to supply many of the canceled weapons in the short to medium term. Also, Bild said that the initial list has shrunk from 48 to 24 pages: out of Ukraine's original 15 weapon requests, only three weapon systems remained – some with alternatives to the original requests.

Defense Express / German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the government is
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the government is "going through the industrial list together with Ukraine", following the video conference with G7 on Tuesday, April 19 / Photo credit: Lisi Niesner, AFP

By the way, while German industries are capable of providing Ukraine with armor, but are not allowed to, Russia suffers from sanctions which led to a complete halt of tank production on one of the key armor plants. And meanwhile, the United States step up in support of Ukraine by approving an unprecedented $800 million military aid package including armored vehicles and Mi-17 helicopters.

Read more: Romania is Ready to Send Weapons to Ukraine: What It Can Be – in the Article by Defense Express