Possible factors for Germany’s refusal to send heavy weapons to Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has come under fire for the delay and inability to fulfill a vow to supply heavy weaponry to Ukraine.


According to a recent Deutsche Welle article, the German government has identified several reasons why it cannot supply heavy weaponry to Ukraine.

Germany solely acts in the interests of its allies.

Since the beginning of the conflict, Prime Minister Olaf Scholz has held this position. Mr. Scholz stated that he was working closely with NATO and EU colleagues. “Look at what our allies are doing, such as those in the G7,” Merkel added, stressing that nations like as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States are delivering the same armaments that Germany has previously provided to Ukraine. Although, on April 21, the United States announced a new military aid package of 800 million USD (760 million euros) to Ukraine, including heavy artillery, bringing the total funding to more over 3 billion USD. Russia has been conducting military operations in Ukraine since February 24.

In comparison, according to the most recent information given by the German Finance Ministry in early April, Germany’s help to the Ukrainian army was approximately 186 million euros. The funds were primarily utilized to purchase anti-aircraft missiles, machine guns, ammo, and bulletproof armor, but not heavier weapons.

Scholz was sending a message to Russia on the one hand by indicating that Berlin was still withholding heavy weapons help, according to Carlo Masala, a defense and security researcher at the German Military University in Munich. On the other hand, it was a message to the home population and his Social Democratic Party, which is centre-left.

“This is a topic that is currently being disputed inside the Social Democratic Party, and Mr. Scholz needs backing from those in the German Parliament who feel that delivering heavy weapons will intensify the crisis, making Germany a target of Russian retaliation,” Professor Masala added. So far, the Czech Republic has pledged to supplying Ukraine dozens of T-72 tanks and BMP-1 infantry battle vehicles produced in the Soviet Union. Last Monday, the United States said that Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters, 200 M113 armoured vehicles, 90 155 mm cannons, and 40,000 shells, all classified as heavy weapons, would be sent soon.

Heavy weapons, according to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, include all tanks and armoured vehicles, as well as all guns with a calibre of 100 mm or above. Heavy weapons also include fighter jets and combat helicopters.

The German army was pushed to its limits.

Germany stated that it could not provide additional military assistance to Ukraine because the country would be unable to meet its national and NATO duties. “For the time being, we must recognise that our alternatives have reached their limit,” Mr. Scholz remarked.

The German military claims that heavy weaponry are required for the country’s and NATO’s defence, particularly the Marder infantry combat vehicle and the 2000 self-propelled howitzer.

On April 20, German Deputy Inspector General Markus Laubenthal told the ZDF public channel, “We need weapons systems like the Marder to ensure the army’s operational capacity.” Mr. Laubenthal made his statements in reaction to Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, who is one of Berlin’s fiercest critics.

Ukraine won’t be able to employ German heavy weaponry right away.

Ukrainian soldiers can only employ weapons with which they are accustomed, according to the German authorities. This also entails providing logistics so that repairs may be completed using the appropriate spare parts. This, according to Professor Masala, is a valid justification. “What if Marder is having a technical issue? Ukraine is without spare parts. They are unable to repair it since they lack a technician “Mr. Masaka expressed his thoughts.

One question is whether transferring tanks to Ukraine now is more efficient, and how to overcome the logistical difficulty. Mr. Masala pointed out that this may be used as a pretext not to deliver them, given that heavy equipment was not sent to Ukraine due to a political decision.

Financial assistance and adaptable solutions

Scholz stated that Germany is providing more than one billion euros to assist Ukraine in purchasing military equipment from Germany. He gave examples of anti-tank weapons, anti-aircraft equipment, and ammunition, but he didn’t disclose the sorts of tanks and planes Ukraine requested.

German defence companies initially offered to supply heavy weapons such as the Marder, Boxer armoured vehicle, Leopard 2 tank, and self-propelled artillery, according to the German newspaper Bild. Those things, however, appear to have vanished from the list. The German response looked to be a plan to replace the allies’ backup armament stocks with new German-made gear. As Germany’s supplies run out, NATO countries in Eastern Europe with Soviet-era weaponry will “supply these weapons, as has happened in some situations,” according to Wolfgang Richter, a retired colonel who now works as an expert at the German Institute for International and Security Studies.

On April 21, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht confirmed intentions to meet with NATO and the EU. Ms Lambrecht told commercial channel RTL/n-tv, “We are talking about the aid of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles that each country has and can provide over.”

Another alternative being considered by the government is a trade agreement with Slovenia. This partner will transfer numerous Soviet-era T-72 combat tanks to Ukraine, in exchange for Germany supplying Marder to Slovenia.

The Netherlands is thought to be in the process of discussing the next step. “The Netherlands will send the 2000 self-propelled howitzer, a very modern German weapon,” Professor Masala said. “Berlin will provide Ukraine with ammunition and training, possibly in Germany.”

This technique can relieve some of the pressure and reduce the amount of criticism. As Mr. Masala points out, however, this will not continue long. He stated, ” “Our Eastern European allies are running out of armaments from the Soviet era. The Soviet Union’s tanks dispatched to Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will be destroyed in the fight. Ukraine will run out of these weapons as well. The topic of whether or not to train and deploy advanced Western weaponry systems to Ukraine will resurface at some point.”

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