“Ukraine will order and Germany will pay for” German-produced hardware, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has said
The German government has given the green light for the delivery of self-propelled anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine, the country’s Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Tuesday.
Speaking at US-hosted defense talks at the American airbase Ramstein in Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate state, Lambrecht said that the leadership in Berlin made the decision on Monday. She emphasized that Germany was “Willing to support the Ukrainian people through a united resolve during this crisis.”
The minister explained that “Ukraine will place an order” hardware from German manufacturers and “Germany will pay.” Berlin would earmark some 2 billion euros to that end, Lambrecht added.
These armored vehicles are Gepard self propelled anti-aircraft gun guns. They were retired by the German military in 2010. Gepards were designed to be used against aircraft and cruise missiles. According to reports, Ukraine could receive up to 50 heavy vehicles. Defense firm Krauss-Maffei Wegmann will now refurbish the equipment before transferring it on to Kiev, Germany’s dpa news agency reported. However, it is not yet known when Ukraine will receive the anti-aircraft system.
Lambrecht also announced that Berlin “has started a swap program with our eastern European partners” that is ensuring that “Ukraine is quickly obtaining heavy weaponry that doesn’t require lengthy training.” But, according to the minister, Germany could do a lot more in this respect.
Berlin will also cooperate with the USA and the Netherlands in providing training for Ukrainian soldiers on German soil to use various artillery weapons.
Lambrecht announced the changes during Tuesday’s meeting of defence ministers representing 40 countries, hosted by US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Earlier this month, several German outlets reported that Germany’s Rheinmetall arms manufacturer was prepared to sell 88 decommissioned Leopard tanks, as well as ammunition, spare parts and tools to repair the hardware. Ukrainian troops would receive training on the equipment. The company was awaiting the German government’s approval, the media said at the time.
Moscow has consistently condemned NATO weapons supplies to Kiev. They only serve to destabilize and impede peace efforts. The Russian military will consider any equipment delivery as a valid target if they enter Ukraine.
“NATO basically wants to go to war with Russia via a proxy, and that proxy is being armied. War equals war.” Russia’s Foreign Minister said on Monday.
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 breakaway areas.
Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and vow to never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims that it planned to seize the two republics.
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