Germany will authorize the delivery to Ukraine of “Cheetah” type armored vehicles, the Minister of Defense announced on Tuesday, which constitutes a major turning point in the cautious policy followed so far by Berlin in its military support for the ‘Ukraine.
“We have decided that Germany will deliver Guepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine”, according to statements by Minister Christine Lambrecht at the opening of a meeting with her Western counterparts at the American military base in Ramstein, in the United States. West of Germany.
A quantity still unknown
The number of tanks, specialized in anti-aircraft defense, was not specified. These vehicles will come from the stocks of the German defense industry and not from the limited reserves of the German army. About 40 countries are meeting on Tuesday at the Ramstein base, at the invitation of the United States, to strengthen the defense of Ukraine, which, according to the American Minister of Defense Lloyd Austin, “can win” against Russia if given the means.
France has already announced that it is sending Caesar guns with a range of 40 kilometers and the United Kingdom has donated Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles and armored vehicles.
The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is for his part severely implicated by his neighbors in Central Europe and the Baltic for his refusal to deliver heavy weapons claimed by Ukraine. These critics see in it partly the continuity of a pro-Russian tropism of his social-democratic party, the SPD.
In Germany itself, the political debate has been lively in recent weeks, including within the government coalition where the Greens and Liberals consider the support given to kyiv insufficient and urge the Chief Executive to authorize the delivery of offensive equipment, in particular armored vehicles.
The parliamentary groups of the three ruling parties agreed on Tuesday to ask the government of Olaf Scholz to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine, according to a draft motion in the Bundestag.
Speed up delivery
The SPD, Greens and FDP groups will ask the government this week to “continue and, if possible, accelerate the delivery of the necessary equipment to Ukraine and also extend the delivery to heavy weapons and complex systems, for example in the context of circular exchange” involving other European countries, according to this draft motion.
The training also calls for Ukrainian soldiers to be trained in Germany and other NATO countries in the use of the systems delivered. “At first, we supplied Ukraine with large quantities of weapons from German army stocks, such as bazookas and anti-aircraft missiles,” Christine Lambrecht told the Ramstein base.
A symbolic command
The principle now, explained Christine Lambrecht, is that Ukraine “orders” from industrial groups and that “Germany pays”. The funds intended for the improvement of Ukrainian military capabilities will thus be increased to two billion euros, confirmed the minister.
Germany also announced last week that it would deliver tanks to Slovenia so that the former Yugoslavian country could transfer its own Soviet-made armor to Ukraine. This type of circular exchange could be discussed with other Eastern European countries.
Chancellor Scholz has so far justified his cautious policy on heavy weapons by the concern to avoid a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, a nuclear power. “Germany has been criticized. But the figures say something else, ”argued Lambrecht on Tuesday morning, recalling in particular the massive investments in defense announced by Germany at the end of February.