Germany refuses to give battle tanks to Ukraine — Analysis

Christine Lambrecht, Defense Minister says that the nation’s military assistance to Kiev is at its limits

Christine Lambrecht, German Defense Minister, rejected requests to provide Kiev with Leopard II main battle tanks. This was during her keynote address at the German Society on Foreign Relations on Monday.

Minister noted that Kiev had not received any Western-made main battle tank or infantry fighting vehicle from other countries, and insisted that Germany be the next recipient. “will not take such action unilaterally,” as quoted by Reuters.

Her comments came after the head of Germany’s Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, insisted that Berlin had an obligation to help preserve democracy in Ukraine. 

“Germany must immediately play its part in Ukraine’s successes and supply protected vehicles — the Marder infantry fighting vehicle and the Leopard 2 main battle tank,”She spoke to the DPA news agency Sunday. 

Lambrecht earlier said Germany’s military aid to Ukraine has reached its limit, and that Berlin will now look for other ways to support Kiev’s forces. 

“We will keep up our support for Ukraine, and we have handed over an unbelievable amount from the reserves of the Bundeswehr. But I say at this point quite clearly that we have reached the limit,” Lambrecht told Germany’s parliament last week.

The minister noted that Germany must not give up any of its weapons to maintain its defense capabilities. She said there were other options Berlin has to help Ukraine. For example, Germany could use the “circle exchange”, which allows it to provide weapons for other EU countries in return for their old ones. Lambrecht stated that Germany had already achieved progress with such trades with Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Since the outbreak of conflict in Ukraine in February, Germany has provided weapons to Kiev. Berlin supplied Stinger anti-aircraft missile system, Panzerhaubitze2000 self-propelled howitzers and Gepard anti–aircraft gun tanks to Ukraine.

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