Germany supplies rocket launchers and armored vehicles to Ukraine

Brussels, Berlin After weeks of discussions, the federal government has agreed to new arms deliveries to the Ukraine penetrated. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced plans to deliver 50 Dingo armored vehicles to Ukraine. In addition, the country is to receive two more "Mars" multiple rocket launchers in its defense against the Russian army.

Berlin is not deviating from its line of not supplying any western-style tanks – despite urgent requests from the Ukraine for Leopard one or two main battle tanks and Marder-type armored personnel carriers. This was confirmed on Thursday evening by SPD leader Lars Klingbeil. The federal government agreed not to deliver any Leopard II tanks at the moment. Training on these battle tanks takes far too long to have an effect in the current phase of the war, said Klingbeil.

Instead, Lambrecht said a ring swap with Greece was close to completion. It is planned that Germany gives the Greek army 40 Marders, which then allows the government in Athens to provide Ukraine with 40 old Soviet-made BMP infantry fighting vehicles. Ukraine already uses such vehicles, so no training mission is necessary.

Lambrecht and the Chancellor are attempting with the additional arms deliveries Olaf Scholz to counter the growing criticism that Germany is too reluctant to support Ukraine. Last was the pressure on the two SPD-Politicians have always grown.

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Defense experts from the Greens and FDP spoke out in favor of approving the export of Marders and Leopard tanks. And calls came from abroad to do more for Ukraine.

NATO: It's better to support Ukraine than to fill up your own weapons depots

Nato-Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made it clear that it was more important for the western alliance to support Ukraine than to fill its own arms caches. "By making sure that Russia in Ukraine, we also increase our own security and strengthen the alliance," he said at a press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

in the NatoHeadquarters argues that now is the time to help Ukraine even more than before. It is important to use the momentum of the Ukrainian counter-offensive and inflict further losses on the Russian occupiers before winter sets in and the front freezes.

Last week, Ukrainian forces managed to launch a surprise counter-offensive and break through Russian positions in the north-east of the country. The Ukrainians liberated around 6,000 square kilometers of their country, including strategically important areas such as the small town of Izyum and the railway junction at Kupiansk.

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Ukraine fears – and there is a similar sentiment at NATO headquarters – that without additional Western weapons it will be unable to do anything against the permanent occupation of large parts of the country by Russia. It's all about the Black Sea coast. As long as Russia controls this area, Ukraine's economic viability is at risk as the country exports most of its goods by ship.

In recent weeks, it has been shown time and again that Ukraine lacks armored vehicles to bring infantry soldiers into the combat zone. Some of the Ukrainians use civilian minibuses that offer no protection whatsoever.

Germany shies away from political change

The new German arms deliveries do not represent a change in policy: Germany had already sent Ukraine three Mars multiple rocket launchers with ammunition from the stocks of the armed forces delivered. Similar to the Americans' Himars rocket launchers, they enable the Ukrainians to attack Russian ammunition depots or supply routes over long distances.

The "Dingo" is a lightly armored transport vehicle that can accommodate up to eight soldiers. However, it does not offer as much protection as, for example, the Marder infantry fighting vehicle. Lambrecht emphasized on Thursday that she was very careful that the deliveries did not weaken the German armed forces themselves. So it argues differently than NATO.

Secretary of Defense Christine Lambrecht

The further course of the German armed forces will be discussed at the Bundeswehr conference in Berlin on Thursday.

(Photo: Reuters)

Chancellor Scholz had already announced extensive additional arms deliveries to Ukraine in August during his trip to Canada, including rocket launchers. The weapons, whose total value is said to be around 500 million euros, would be delivered in 2023, but in some cases this year, Scholz said.

FDPDefense politician Marcus Faber sees the delivery of Mars 2 and Dingo as "another important step in the turning point". But there is also criticism. Green European politician Viola von Cramon said there was a growing lack of understanding in Brussels "that Germany is formulating a claim to leadership but is not fulfilling it". Ukraine is suffering high losses, armored vehicles are urgently needed. "We have Marder and Leopard tanks lying around, there is no reason to refuse their delivery."

Also for them CDUDefense politician Kerstin Vieregge, the government does not go far enough with the deliveries that have now been made public: "We support Ukraine, but we fall far short of our potential," said Vieregge. If the federal government is serious about wanting to take on more responsibility for the security of our allies, then it is "high time to take the initiative in terms of supplying main battle tanks and armored personnel carriers to Ukraine".

During a visit to Kyiv, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen also spoke out in favor of equipping Ukraine with western tanks.

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