DThe Ukraine will receive additional rocket launchers and armored transport vehicles from Germany; However, there is still no German response to the Kiev government's request for the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks. Secretary of Defense Christina Lambrecht (SPD) announced the delivery of two more Mars rocket launchers to the Ukraine along with 200 rockets and the delivery of 50 armored Dingo-type transporters at the beginning of a Bundeswehr conference in front of the Bundeswehr commanders in Berlin. She said it was "encouraging to see what successes Ukraine could achieve with the help of German weapons" in the offensive in the east and south of the country.
The minister also announced that an agreed exchange of rings with Greece was about to be implemented. According to this, the Greek side will deliver 40 Soviet-type BMP1 infantry fighting vehicles to the Ukraine and in return will receive 40 Marder-type tanks from German armaments manufacturers, the infantry fighting vehicle that the armed forces phased out and replaced by the Puma type.
foreign minister Annalena Bärbock (Greens) had called for a quick decision on the delivery of battle tanks the day before in a conversation with the FAZ and also increasingly brought up the delivery of equipment that does not come from the Bundeswehr stocks, but would be delivered directly by the armaments industry. As an example, Baerbock gave the ammunition for the anti-aircraft tank Gepard, whose old stocks are apparently running out.
support from the CSU
The leader of the European People's Party, the CSU MEP Manfred Weber, supported the demand for the delivery of German battle tanks on Thursday. Weber told the Funke media group's newspapers that the Ukrainian army was showing that with the right help, it could win the war; "Therefore, the federal government should clear the way for the delivery of battle tanks." This could shorten the war and limit suffering.
Lambrecht said Thursday the support of the Ukraine with Mars and Dingo the “Bundeswehr will not be weakened”; it will continue to be possible to comply with the German obligations in NATO to protect the eastern alliance partners and to be "reliable" at the same time. In doing so, she indicated that she was sticking to her line of planning further deliveries from Bundeswehr stocks to the Ukrainian army on a rather small scale.
With regard to the equipment of the Bundeswehr, the chairman of the Bundeswehr Association, André Wüstner, said that despite the special program for the armed forces of 100 billion euros decided by the Bundestag, the Bundeswehr has not yet been freed from its equipment shortages. The army does good things on NATO's eastern flank, for example by stationing troops in Lithuania, and on foreign missions such as in Mali. However, the financial means decided would first have to be invested in procurement contracts.
Bundeswehr "in free fall"
Wüstner said, "At the moment we are still in free fall". He also demanded that the higher financial resources for the Bundeswehr should continue to be granted even after the end of the 100 billion program; the defense budget must be 75 billion euros a year in the next legislative period.
The Minister of Defense also argued the same way before the commanders of the Bundeswehr. She said the special program would enable urgent investments for the Bundeswehr, such as the procurement of new combat aircraft. But "if the turning point is to be sustainable, we will have to spend more in the long term," she stated.
The investments entail follow-up costs for maintenance and exercise operations, and there are also further skill gaps in the troops that have to be closed by new procurements. It is important to secure the German defense contributions that have been reported to NATO and to establish "the full operational readiness of the Bundeswehr".
Lambrecht said the armed forces must become "cold start capable." It is also important to improve staff retention in the troops and to speed up the procurement process. The turning point in the Bundeswehr requires “continuous work”, said the defense minister; so far only the first steps have been taken. She praised the support of the population, who recognized in their "large majority" that "we need military strength". The willingness of the population to support this is “greater than it has been for a long time. There is an understanding that "a position of strength" is necessary to defuse conflicts.