September 28, 2022

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Germany to send rockets to Ukraine – DW – 09/16/2022

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced on Thursday that the country would send two more multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine, including 200 rockets and 50 armored personnel carriers.

The decision follows recent calls by the Ukrainian government for Germany to increase its arms supply after a successful counteroffensive against Russian aggression.

“We have decided to send two more Mars II multiple rocket launchers, including 200 rockets, to Ukraine,” Lambrecht told a Bundeswehr (German armed forces) briefing. “Also, we will send 50 Dingo armored vehicles.”

According to the minister, training of Ukrainian soldiers in handling Mars II missiles should begin in September.

Lambrecht also announced that Greece will soon send 40 Soviet-made infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine as part of an agreement with Germany.

German help

Germany has been repeatedly criticized by the government in Kiev for its reluctance to send more weapons. Ukrainians asked for Panther tanks, for example, which did not enter the new German inventory.

At the beginning of the war waged by Russia, Germany was reluctant to send any weapons to Ukraine, following its long-standing policy of not supplying weapons to conflict zones. But Berlin eventually turned around and sent equipment, ammunition and anti-aircraft tanks.

The German government has pledged to send more than 500 million euros worth of weapons by 2023 to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression. But pressure on Germany increased after a Ukrainian counteroffensive saw the country reclaim large swaths of territory from Russian forces.

Berlin still insists on coordinating all arms deliveries with its closest allies. Lambrecht has already defended his ministry against accusations of failing to send needed weapons to Ukraine, saying his priority is to ensure the German Bundeswehr is well-armed to defend the country.

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The minister also argued that the supply of Soviet tanks by Eastern European countries would allow them to deploy much faster than Germany’s sophisticated Panther II tanks, which require weeks of training.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) appears reluctant, while the two smaller partners in Germany’s ruling coalition – the Green Party and the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) – have called for the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine.

Although many excuses have been made, some believe that the main reason was to avoid the unpleasant optics of German tanks facing Russian tanks, as happened during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

Ek (Reuters, AFP, dpa)