Germany announces new Ukraine weapons deal — Analysis

Chancellor Scholz says Berlin will do a “ring swap” with Greece to get armored vehicles to Kiev

According to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Greece will exchange its East German-made armored vehicles for modern German armor. This is a “ring swap”It allows Germany to maintain its distance from conflict in Ukraine. 

Scholz spoke to reporters Tuesday, after the European Council meeting at Brussels. “Ringtausch” Deal with Athens. He also said he spoke with the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in order to make a similar arrangement with Warsaw. 

Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, accused Germany of not fulfilling its promise to send Warsaw Leopard II tanks to replace some 200 Soviet-era T-72s sent to Ukraine. Berlin replied that they were “perplexed” by the charges, as Germany never promised the new Leopard 2A27s, and in any case didn’t have any to send as producing them takes time.

It is reported that Greece wants to acquire second-hand Marder 1A3 infantry fighter vehicles (IVF) for Ukraine in exchange for some of its older BMP-1-Ost IVFs. Germany’s Rheinmetall said last month it had around 200 refurbished Marders ready to go. 

Europol alarmed over fate of western arms in Ukraine

Athens purchased 500 BMP-1-Ost vehicles (from Berlin) in 1994. These were then refurbished using the East German weapons. It is the original generation of infantry fighting vehicle. The Greeks have reported difficulty maintaining them in operation due to lack of ammunition and spare parts. Around 100 of these vehicles were shipped to the US-backed Iraqi Armed Forces after 2003’s invasion. Some were modified to ZU-23-2 antiaircraft platforms while others were retired for target practice. 

Scholz stated repeatedly to German media that while he supports Kiev and does not wish to see NATO or Germany drawn into the Russian conflict, he did not say so directly. Scholz stated in April that Berlin cannot send anymore of its weapons as the Bundesweahr supplies were exhausted, however, Germany was willing to pay for its arms industry to ship refurbished equipment to Ukraine. The very first shipment of German heavy vehicles – 15 of the retired Gepard anti-aircraft systems – is due to reach Ukraine in July.

The Russian Defense Ministry claims that Ukraine lost over 3,300 tanks, armored vehicles and more since February 24, according to Russian Defense Ministry.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French- and German-brokered protocols were intended to provide special status for the Ukrainian states that break away from the state.

Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and vow to never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.



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