For the past ten weeks, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has apparently been making requests for additional arms deliveries to Ukraine. As WELT learned from Kiev government circles, Ukrainian diplomats repeatedly asked the federal government for commitments for more heavy equipment.
According to the information, since June there have been high-level meetings in the Berlin Ministry of Defense several times a month at regular intervals, in which Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) also took part. The Ukrainian side has always asked for more deliveries of those types of weapons that Germany has already provided.
Namely the Panzerhaubitze 2000, of which the federal government has delivered ten so far, and the multiple rocket launcher Mars II, of which it has delivered three. In addition, Kyiv asked for approval of the export of main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers requested by the industry. In April, Ukraine received offers from the armaments group Rheinmetall to buy 100 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and 88 Leopard 1 main battle tanks, including training and ammunition, for a total of 268 million euros. According to the manufacturer, the device would be “quickly available”. A corresponding export application was made immediately, but the chancellor has not reacted in the past four months.
Last week, the Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov also made these requests in a personal phone call with Lambrecht. The head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, did the same in a telephone conversation with the foreign policy adviser to the chancellor, Jens Plötner, on August 4th. On request, the Chancellery stated that it was "basically not able to report" on confidential discussions.
"All of our requests were always recorded and written down," said Ukrainian government circles about the meetings in the Ministry of Defense to WELT. "But that hasn't had any effect so far." In the talks, the Ministry of Defense even justified its rejection by saying that the Bundeswehr needed the remaining equipment itself because Germany had to serve alliance obligations on NATO's eastern flank.
With this argument, Scholz already rejected the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine in the spring. British Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey disagreed in the WELT interview. The security of the alliance is not endangered by German supplies to Kyiv. Replies from the Ukrainian side that the battle tanks and armored personnel carriers were equipment provided by the armaments industry were not responded to, according to Ukrainian information.
There is no political decision in the matter, it is said to have been said. When asked, a ministry spokeswoman said the defense ministry was “in contact with the Ukrainian side on many levels. Our aim is to provide Ukraine with the best possible support in its fight against the Russian aggressor. I cannot comment on the content of internal discussions."
Scholz made the last commitment from the federal government for significant arms deliveries on June 1 during a speech in the Bundestag. At that time he promised the delivery of three Mars multiple rocket launchers, an Iris-T anti-aircraft system and a radar system. Nevertheless, the chancellor has since reiterated his promise to continue supporting Ukraine with arms.
Germany has broken with tradition and is delivering weapons to a war zone, Scholz said last week. "We will continue to do so in the near future." So far, Scholz has only promised to supply additional weapons if he feels compelled to do so. At the end of April, the Chancellor vehemently ruled out the provision of heavy weapons to Kyiv. Among other things, he justified this by saying that Germany should not go it alone. By then, dozens of states had already shipped heavy equipment.
At a US-led "workshop" in support of Ukraine, pressure from allies forced the German government to back down. Germany will deliver 30 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks. Shortly thereafter, Berlin announced that it would also provide self-propelled howitzers for Kyiv. A little later, however, it turned out that there was a lack of ammunition for the cheetahs. Doubts grew among the allies about the chancellor's about-face in supplying heavy weapons. When the USA announced at the end of May that it would be supplying multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine for the first time, the chancellor had to follow suit.
Since then, Scholz has left it at the announcement two and a half months ago that it would also supply multiple rocket launchers. At the end of July, the FDP defense politician, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, wrote to Scholz, calling for a national Ukraine conference to be held to mobilize additional aid. The rejection from the chancellery followed promptly.
"We will not respond to the letter now," said a spokeswoman succinctly at the time. Meanwhile, Scholz is officially sticking to his line of not being able to deliver weapons to Ukraine that are not being delivered by other partners either. Because the USA was not supplying any Western-style tanks either, Berlin could not do this either. However, the fact that Washington has meanwhile increased the number of HIMARS multiple rocket launchers to 16 and howitzers to 126 is ignored in the Chancellery.
Instead, the Chancellery highlights the extent of its own support by updating the list of delivered weapons on a weekly basis. In the past week alone, it rose by ten positions. These mostly include things like refrigerators, jammers and thermal imaging devices.