Germany unsure where its Ukraine weapons ended up – Der Spiegel
The German government only twice checked where the weapons it had sent abroad in 2023 ended up, Der Spiegel reported on Friday, citing officials. Meanwhile, Berlin’s massive military assistance to Kiev was also left unsupervised, with German policymakers relying on assurances from Ukrainian officials.
The Ministry of Economics provided the information in response to a request from Bundestag member Sevim Dagdelen, who is now a member of the recently formed BSW party founded by MP Sahra Wagenknecht. The latter, often described as the ‘Icon of German Left,’ has been a vocal critic of arms deliveries to Kiev.
Citing the reply, Der Spiegel noted that Berlin had checked the whereabouts of small arms sent to Taiwan in January 2023, and in June, it carried out a similar inspection in Cape Verde. German officials insisted that both on-site inspections meant to make sure that the weapons did not leave the end destination went smoothly.
However, regarding the massive commitment to finance the Ukrainian military, there have been “no controls” whatsoever, Der Spiegel reported, quoting the ministry.
German officials reportedly stated that Kiev had assured them that all German weapons would remain in the country, adding that “any verification measures must under no circumstances impair Ukraine’s effective defense against ongoing Russian aggression.” Ukraine received €17 billion ($18.7 billion) in military aid from Germany between January 2022 and October 2023, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
Meanwhile, the German government approved nearly €12 billion ($13 billion) in arms exports in 2023, setting a new record.
Commenting on the officials’ reply, Dagdelen called the inspections a “laughing stock.” She suggested that the German government was much more eager to check weapons going to Cape Verde than to Saudi Arabia – which she called a “dictatorship” – or the United Arab Emirates. “Given the corruption in Ukraine, checks must be there too,” the MP added.
Russia, which has repeatedly condemned Western arms deliveries to Ukraine, has also warned that these weapons could end up in the black market, reaching criminals and terrorists around the world.
Meanwhile, in late December, Ukrainian Interior Minister Igor Klimenko admitted that Kiev does not know precisely how many weapons are in the hands of its citizens. He noted that the estimates vary from one to two million and are based mainly on data provided by Ukraine’s international partners and statistics collected in other conflict-ridden countries.