German leadership blamed for stalled Ukraine aid
The office of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is to blame for the perceived slow pace of weapons deliveries to Ukraine, the head of the Bundestag’s defense committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, has said.
“The narrowest point that slows down Germany’s military commitment is, for whatever reason, the chancellery,” the MP with the Free Democratic Party (FDP) said in an interview with the Bayern media group published on Saturday.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is set to continue, Strack-Zimmermann believes, and thus German politicians “should not relax” but should rather focus on speeding up the delivery of military aid to Ukraine. Berlin must fix the situation with the stalled deliveries by September-October, the MP warned.
The parliament, which is dominated by the so-called ‘traffic light’ coalition of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), FDP and Alliance 90/The Greens, is ready to take “responsibility” for helping Kiev, she asserted.
“This House is the linchpin of decisions. That’s where the threads come together and that’s where the signals are sent. We Free Democrats and many other MPs from the traffic light groups are ready to take on the responsibility accordingly,” Strack-Zimmermann said.
While Berlin had previously sent thousands of portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile systems, ammunition, helmets and other equipment to Ukraine, it’s been lagging far behind Kiev’s top suppliers of heavy military hardware. So far, Germany has sent seven Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 self-propelled howitzers and pledged a further three, and the Mars II, a European modification of the US-made MLRS M270 multiple rocket launcher.
It has also pledged some 30 Gepard anti-aircraft vehicles, the first of which were delivered this week. Earlier this month, however, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said that the country’s military stocks had limited capacity for sending weapons to Ukraine.
Despite the support demonstrated by Germany, Kiev – and former Ukrainian Ambassador Andrey Melnik in particular – have repeatedly criticized Berlin over what they have called a reluctance to send military aid to Ukraine and the overall slow pace of the deliveries.