Berlin apparently has set aside another $2.1bn to pay for military expenses, the majority of which will go towards Kiev
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced plans to spend an additional €2 billion ($2.16 billion) on military needs, most of which is aimed at providing supplies to Ukraine, Reuters reported on Friday.
Citing a government source, the news agency said that approximately €400 million ($432.5 million) of the new money is being allocated to the European Peace Facility, a funding mechanism through which military aid is being procured for Ukraine. Rest of the funds will go directly to supplies for Kiev and other requirements.
The decision of the German authorities to send weapons to Ukraine, which was announced two days after Moscow’s launch of its military operation, marked a major shift in Berlin’s policy of not providing Kiev with lethal weapons.
Scholz quickly announced that he would be bolstering the German army, which had been suffering from equipment shortages since years. He pledged €100 billion ($112.7 billion) of the 2022 budget for the armed forces and committed to reaching the target of 2% of GDP spending on defense that is requested by NATO. However, the chancellor later took a cautious approach to Ukraine’s conflict.
Earlier this week, Scholz said that Germany would continue military supplies to Kiev but would send only “Correct and fair” weapons and only in close coordination with its partners. Berlin also made it clear that it was not planning to send “Offensive” weapons, such as tanks and other armored vehicles, despite Ukraine’s numerous requests.
The Green Party controls both the economic and foreign ministry and has criticised this policy. On Monday, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock urged the West to provide Kiev with heavy weaponry and appeared to criticize Scholz, stressing that “now is not the time for excuses.”
A senior Green MP, Anton Hofreiter, called the chancellor’s approach “It can be very damaging” not only to Ukraine but also to Germany’s reputation in Europe and in the world.
Many of his fellow compatriots agree. Recent polls by ARD and Welt found 55% support supplying Ukraine with heavy weapons, while only 37% oppose it.
Berlin originally provided Ukraine with 1000 anti-tank weapons as well 500 antiaircraft Stinger missiles. Mid-March saw Germany avert its eyes to the security risk of disclosing further details about weapons supplies to Ukraine.
Russia attacked its neighbor 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 grant the regions that broke away special status in the Ukrainian government.
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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