Marking a shift in its policy of not supplying arms to crisis regions, Germany has said it will send 50 “Dingo” armored personnel carriers and two MARS salvo rocket launchers with ammunition to Ukraine. However, the offer does not include Leopard tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, which Kyiv has been desperately asking for.
Ukraine German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht made the announcement while speaking at an armed forces’ conference in Berlin on Thursday, DW reported. She said it was encouraging to see the successes Ukraine had achieved, especially in recent days and with the help of German weapons.
The announcement came after Berlin faced intense pressure from NATO allies, Kyiv and domestic politicians to help Ukraine forces in its war against the Russian invasion.
The defense minister added that training on the MARS II launchers for Ukrainian operators was expected to commence this month.
Additionally, Greece will send 40 Soviet-built BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine under a deal in which Greece would in turn receive 40 Marder IFVs from Germany.
With Ukraine continuing to push occupying Russian forces in the east and south of the country, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted Tuesday that he was disappointed with Germany’s refusal to provide his country’s forces with the Leopard tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles it had asked for.
Germany is one of the world’s top arms producers and exporters, with South Korea, Algeria and Egypt as its largest customers. Ukraine is also a buyer of German defense equipment. However, since the buildup of Russian troops at its border, Kyiv has been demanding that Berlin send heavy weapons systems.
Germany has refused Ukraine’s request for heavy weaponry and even blocked other nations from sending German-origin military equipment, considering its history and guilt of Nazi crimes and citing its policy of not sending lethal weapons to conflict zones.
However, a DW fact check revealed Germany has not consistently adhered to its principle of not supplying weapons to crisis regions. On multiple occasions, the German government has reportedly approved arms deliveries to countries that are parties to conflicts or are themselves crisis areas.
Referring to Germany’s moral and historical responsibility toward Russians for Nazi crimes, Sergey Nechayev, the Russian ambassador to Germany, decried Berlin’s decision as crossing the “red line” during a recent interview.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has been accused of being too timid in standing up against Russia, perhaps due to domestic political pressure, urged Russian President Vladimir Putin via a phone call Tuesday to find a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine based on a ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of Russian troops and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.