Germany refuses to ‘plunder’ army for Ukraine
Germany is set to continue supporting Ukraine “with everything possible” but not at the expense of its own defense capabilities, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has said. Berlin will therefore not supply Fuchs armored personnel carriers (APC) to Kiev because the Bundeswehr, the German army, needs them, she explained.
“We support Ukraine with everything that is possible and responsible. But we have to guarantee Germany’s defensive capability,” Lambrecht told the news agency dpa on Thursday.
“It is irresponsible to want to plunder the Bundeswehr, especially in these times, and furthermore to ignore the military advice of the inspector general,” she added, referring to an assessment by Germany’s top general, Eberhard Zorn, who had said that the country’s army could not spare any of its Fuchs armored personnel carriers.
While Lambrecht avoided pointing fingers at those allegedly seeking to “plunder” Germany’s military inventory, her remarks came a day after a group of MPs urged Berlin to deliver 200 Fuchs APCs to Kiev as soon as possible. The initiative was spearheaded by the opposition CDU/CSU alliance, which argued that the vehicles, which originate from the 1970s, were set to be soon moved to the military’s reserve anyway.
“For the Ukrainian army, it is about the rapid delivery of reliable material that can be used immediately on the front line. Such material is in the inventory of the Bundeswehr and is to be withdrawn from use by the Bundeswehr: the Fuchs armored transport vehicle,” the parliamentary group said in its proposal.
Germany has been providing Ukraine with assorted weaponry since the beginning of the ongoing conflict between Kiev and Moscow that broke out in late February. Still, Berlin lags far behind the top arms suppliers, the US and UK, and has been facing allegations of “overpromising and underdelivering” in terms of military supply to Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, however, insists that the country has been doing everything it could to prop up Kiev in its fight against Moscow. “Germany sent all the weapons we had in our stocks in our military infrastructure. And we decided also to deliver new weapons from our industry, which takes a longer time because they have to be produced,” he told CBS News earlier this week.
Speaking in the country’s parliament on Wednesday, Scholz also confirmed that Germany would continue supplying Ukraine under the “circular exchange” principle, a scheme in which Eastern European countries donate their Soviet-era military inventory to Ukraine and in turn receive more modern systems from Germany.
Russia has repeatedly urged the West not to provide Kiev with weapons, warning it will only prolong the conflict and lead to long-term consequences. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that continuing to “pump up” Ukraine with weapons would only prompt Russia “to perform more missions on the ground.”