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14 Mar, 2022 16:21

Germany announces changes to arms supplies for Ukraine

A government spokesman says Berlin will keep shipments secret due to “security risks”
Germany announces changes to arms supplies for Ukraine

Germany will no longer divulge details of its weapons shipments to Ukraine, government spokesman Wolfgang Buechner told reporters on Monday, according to the Associated Press. The policy of secrecy will extend to switching off livestreams from the country’s highways, and comes after Russia said it will treat Western arms shipments into Ukraine as “legitimate targets.”

Buechner said that under the new policy, Germany will not say which weapons are being delivered to Ukraine or how “to avoid security risks.” Speaking at the same press conference on Monday, Defense Ministry spokesman Arne Collatz added that “it is the goal of the Russian aggressors to cut Ukraine’s supply routes and make defense harder, and we don’t want to facilitate this.”

The country’s transport ministry has also switched off live feeds from cameras on German highways for security reasons, presumably to prevent Russia from reconnoitering weapons convoys before they leave Germany.

Initially reluctant to supply weapons to Ukraine, Germany reversed its ban on arms sales to Kiev in late February and sent thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to the Ukrainian military. Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government also authorized the Netherlands and Estonia to send their stocks of German-made weapons to Kiev.

Germany is one of many NATO countries funneling arms to Ukraine, while the EU has also made the unprecedented move of procuring weapons for the pro-Western government in Kiev. 

Amid the influx of foreign weapons, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated on Saturday that he had “warned the US that pumping weapons from a number of countries it orchestrates isn’t just a dangerous move, it’s an action that makes those convoys legitimate targets.”

While Russia has not yet struck any of these arms convoys, Germany’s more secretive approach going forward suggests that the possibility is being taken seriously in Berlin. 

Western arms and foreign volunteers for Ukraine’s military typically cross the country’s 535-kilometer (332-mile) border with Poland, as Hungary has forbidden the transit of weapons to Ukraine. While western Ukraine is firmly under Ukrainian control and is seen as a bastion of pro-Western sentiment, Russia has demonstrated the ability to strike deep into this region, launching missile strikes on a NATO-partnered training center around a dozen miles from the Polish border on Sunday.