Germany will allow the supply of Cheetah armored vehicles to Ukraine, the defense minister said on Tuesday, which is a major turning point in the cautious policy Berlin is still pursuing in its military support for Ukraine.
“We have decided that Germany will hand over Guepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine,” said Minister Christine Lambrecht at the opening of a meeting with her Western counterparts at the US military base in Ramstein, USA. West of Germany.
The number is still unknown
The number of tanks specializing in air defense is not specified. These vehicles will come from the reserves of the German defense industry, not from the limited reserves of the German army. About 40 countries are gathering at the Rammstein base on Tuesday at the invitation of the United States to strengthen Ukraine’s defense, which, according to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, “can defeat” Russia if it has the funds.
France has already announced that it is sending Caesar guns with a range of 40 kilometers, and Britain has handed over anti-aircraft missiles and Starstreak armored vehicles.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, for his part, is seriously involved in his neighbors in Central Europe and the Baltics for refusing to supply the heavy weapons claimed by Ukraine. These critics see this as part of the continuity of the pro-Russian tropism of his Social Democratic Party, the SPD.
In Germany itself, there has been a lively political debate in recent weeks, including in the governing coalition, where Greens and Liberals see support for Kyiv as insufficient and call on the chief executive to allow offensive equipment, including armored vehicles.
Parliamentary groups from the three ruling parties agreed on Tuesday to ask Olaf Scholz’s government to provide Ukraine with heavy weapons, according to a draft proposal in the Bundestag.
Speed up delivery
SPD, Greens and FDP groups will ask the government this week to “continue and, if possible, speed up the delivery of necessary equipment to Ukraine, as well as expand supplies of heavy weapons and complex systems, for example, in the context of the circular exchange.” “with the participation of other European countries, in accordance with this draft proposal.
The training also includes training Ukrainian soldiers in Germany and other NATO countries on the use of the systems provided. “Initially, we supplied Ukraine with a large number of weapons from the German army, such as bazookas and anti-aircraft missiles,” said Christine Lambrecht at the Rammstein base.
Now the principle, Christine Lambrecht explained, is that Ukraine “orders” from industrial groups and “Germany pays.” Thus, the funds intended for improving Ukraine’s military potential will be increased to two billion euros, the minister confirmed.
Last week, Germany also announced that it would deliver tanks to Slovenia so that the former Yugoslav country could hand over its own Soviet armor to Ukraine. This type of circular exchange could be discussed with other Eastern European countries.
Chancellor Scholz has so far justified his cautious policy on heavy weapons by worrying about avoiding a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, a nuclear power. “Germany has been criticized. But the numbers say otherwise, “Lambrecht argued on Tuesday morning, recalling, among other things, the massive investment in defense announced by Germany in late February.