Soldiers drive through “Murder” infantry fighting vehicles of the German Armed Forces Bundeswehr during the informative educational exercise “Land Operation Exercise 2017” at the military training area in Münster, northern Germany.
AFP Contributor | AFP | Getty Images
Ukraine’s relations with Germany have soured this week, with Kyiv asking why Berlin has reneged on its promise to provide heavy weapons.
Tensions over Germany’s provision of Leopard tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine – or lack thereof – came to a head this week when Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba publicly asked that Berlin allow these weapons. Why was he backing down on the pledge made to send him to Ukraine?
“Disappointing signal from Germany while Ukraine now needs Leopards and Murders – to free people and save them from genocide,” Kuleba said on Twitter. And excuses.”
“What is Berlin afraid that Kyiv is not?” He added.
The Marder is a German infantry fighting vehicle designed for use with Leopard battle tanks in combat.
Kuleba’s remarks came as Ukraine retaliated against Russian forces in the country’s south and northeast. Ukraine’s counterattack in the north-east Kharkiv region was seen as a particular success, with Russian forces withdrawing from towns and villages across the region, almost completely occupying it.
A new Leopard 2 A7V heavy battle tank stands by the Bundeswehr’s 9th Panzer Training Brigade during a visit by German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to the Bundeswehr Army Training Ground on February 07, 2022 in Münster, Germany.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Ukraine is largely dependent on Western weapons systems to fight the Russian military. And its allies in the West, essentially NATO members, have personally shipped a wide array of military hardware to Ukraine.
In April, Germany promised Ukraine Leopard tanks and marauders. Instead of distributing them directly, it proposed a swap scheme. This meant that NATO members, for example Poland, could send their older Soviet-era tanks (such as Leopard 1s) to Ukraine, and Germany would then stock their own with more modern equivalent weapons (such as Leopard 2s). Will promise to refill.
It justified the proposal by saying Ukraine’s military was used to the old Soviet-era weapons and should only supply weapons they knew how to use.
The only problem with the plan is that this arms exchange has largely failed and Germany now faces backlash from critics within Germany and outside – and not least from disappointed Ukraine. .
Yuri Saak, an adviser to Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksey Reznikov, told CNBC on Wednesday that Kyiv does not understand Berlin’s reluctance to send weapons that could prove decisive on the battlefield.
“It is hard to read their minds, but the words of Germany, on several occasions during the last seven months, have not matched their actions. And it is disappointing because there was a time when they made the commitment that they would to Ukraine.” Provided with these tanks, it was the moment of hope and promise we were waiting for,” he said.
“If they are afraid of some nuclear strikes or some other attacks on the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya that may result in great tragedy, that is another story but as far as the situation on the battlefield is concerned, We don’t. I don’t understand the logic behind it. It could be some internal political game too.”
Kyiv wants weapons, Germany has
Russia’s forces were seen by surprise by the massive attacks, redeploying some of its most effective combat units to southern Ukraine after Kyiv signaled in the summer that it was a counter-attack to retake Kherson. Will do
After what seemed like a brief period of a stunned silence in Ukraine’s rapid victories in the northeast and progress, Russian forces have begun their response to those victories, an intensification of attacks on energy infrastructure in the northeast. The range is launched, as well as the missile strikes the south.
At all times, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on Ukraine’s international allies to continue sending weapons to Ukraine, saying they need them most at this time to keep pace.
And it is weapons such as Germany’s Leopard tanks, and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, that Ukraine says could certainly change the balance of the war.
Among Ukraine’s NATO allies, Germany – the self-proclaimed “leader of Europe” – has attracted criticism and even ridicule for its military aid to Ukraine. Just before Russia launched its offensive on 24 February, Germany’s proposal to send thousands of helmets to Ukraine was ridiculed.
Analysts say the criticism is not entirely qualified, however, noting that after the US and Britain, Germany has been one of the biggest donors of arms to Ukraine.
Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans run a Dutch open-source intelligence defense analysis website and keep a tally of weapons delivered by Germany to Ukraine.
They note on their site thatTo date, these deliveries include several Gepard SPAAGs (self-propelled anti-aircraft guns), man-portable air-defense systems (known as MANPADS, they are portable surface-to-air missiles), howitzers and Anti-tank weapons, as well as hundreds of vehicles and millions of rounds of ammunition. The German government has also published a list of military equipment sent to Ukraine, the exact 125 pairs of telescopes it has donated.,
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits with French President Emmanuel Macron, Romanian President Klaus Iohannes and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, June 16, 2022.
Viacheslav Ratansky | Reuters
But Germany has clearly dragged its feet when it comes to German tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, having not made a decision on the supply of such hardware, let alone deliveries. Despite specific requests from Ukraine by Kuleba and other officials since March, Analysts say that Germany’s good intentions are yet to be fulfilled.
“Germany … has attempted to entice other countries to send their heavy weapons to Ukraine in a program known as the ‘ringtosch’ (‘exchange’). Under this policy, the country would sell German arsenals in exchange for delivering tanks. : can receive charges and infantry fighting vehicles from its stock for Ukraine,” Mitzer and Olimanso Mentioned in an article in early September.
“Although a promising plan at first, the ‘Ringtosh’ program has largely failed to live up to expectations as most countries expect their Soviet-era systems to be replaced by a large number of modern weapon systems that have been deployed in Berlin. is currently able (or willing) to offer,” he noted.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is under increasing pressure to make a decision on sending such weapons to Ukraine, but there appears to be a reluctance to make that decision at the top. On Monday, Germany’s Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said sending more heavy weapons to Ukraine “wasn’t that easy.”
“It’s not that easy to say: I’ll just risk that we won’t be able to defend the country by giving everything. No, I won’t,” she said. “But we have other possibilities from the industry, with our partners,” Deutsche Welle reported.
CNBC contacted the German Defense Ministry for further comment, and responded to Kuleba’s comments, and has yet to receive a response.
Chancellor Scholz on Wednesday defended Germany’s record on arms deliveries, however, telling reporters that “it can be said that the weapons Germany has now provided to Ukraine are decisive for the development of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.” And they’ve made it too. Difference “in war.”
Germany’s austerity on the delivery of certain weapons has led some critics to seek covert motives for its reluctance, with some even suggesting that Germany should use German tanks facing Russian tanks on the battlefield. Doesn’t like the idea, as he did in World War II.
“We have no choice. It’s about our freedom, about our future, about the fate of the entire Ukrainian people,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (pictured here on June 16).
Ludovic Marin | Reuters
Defense expert Rafael Loss of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) told CNBC on Wednesday that the German government has offered several explanations for not sending weapons.
“The German government itself has made it very clear why it should not do so, essentially, since the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine and even before that. We have heard concerns about the potential for escalation, that Russia could see such transfer of arms as some kind of red line.”
“We mostly see concerns from the SPD (Scholz Social Democratic Party) about images that German Leopard tanks might produce toe-to-toe with Russian tanks in Ukraine. And we have seen in previous arguments about the tight timeline. Also heard. The reason for sending Soviet-made material first. I think that’s a valid argument. But it’s only so long,” he said.
“At some point, Ukraine – and the countries that would be able to support Ukraine with these kinds of systems – will run out of them, and you can’t easily replace them. So at some point, you have to know about it. We have to start thinking in Western supply chains that are based on Western Western systems.”
The loss portrayed Germany’s stance towards Ukraine as “huge” resistance to unilaterally sending arms, and that it would prefer some sort of European alliance that jointly sends arms and aid.
“Over the past six or four months, we have seen an active reluctance from both the chancellor and the defense ministry to take the initiative and they have always mentioned ‘not to go it alone’,” said Loss, adding that Germany wants America should lead and Berlin should follow.
While pressure is mounting on Berlin to act, Germany’s stance is unlikely to change anytime soon or potentially, according to Anna-Karina Hamker, a Europe researcher at political risk analysis firm Eurasia Group. She said in a note on Wednesday that Scholz’s government – her Social Democratic Party, a coalition of the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats, uncomfortable bedfellows at the best of times – will likely continue to struggle over its Ukraine policy.
“Government’s Ukraine policy is unlikely to make major adjustments and the coalition will not take significant steps in arms deliveries despite Ukraine’s territorial gains over the past few days,” it said in a note.
As such, Ukraine is left angry and frustrated with Germany’s stance, leaving Kyiv to question Berlin’s commitment as the war continues into the fall and possibly winter, until a dramatic change of course from the Kremlin. it happens.
Ukrainian Defense Ministry official Yuri Sak summed up Kyiv’s frustrations towards Germany, noting that “one argument is that they are afraid to move forward – but this is an invalid argument because of what kind of escalation it is.” ? It’s bad enough as it is.”