Ukrainian Foreign Minister: Germany encourages Putin to launch new attack on Ukraine

By denying arms supplies to Ukraine, Germany is encouraging Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba said.

Germany’s statements “that it is not possible to supply defense weapons to Ukraine” are not in line with the “current security situation,” Kuleba said on Twitter.

He emphasized that “Western unity vis-à-vis Russia is more important today than ever before.”

“German partners must stop undermining Western unity with such words and actions and Putin’s encouragement to launch a new attack on Ukraine,” Kuleba said.

Kiev is grateful to Germany for its support for Ukraine, but Berlin’s “current statements are disappointing,” the Ukrainian foreign minister said.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Germany had not allowed Estonia to supply Ukraine with 122 millimeter howitzers that once belonged to Germany.

According to Kristine Lambrehte, Minister of Defense, in the meantime, Die Welt told Germany, in February, Germany is planning to send a field hospital to Ukraine, covering all the expenses, which, together with the planned training, will amount to about 5.3 million euros.

“The German government must do everything it can to de-escalate the crisis, but the supply of arms would not be useful at the moment,” the federal government minister said.

According to the WSJ, Estonia plans to make available to Ukraine the former Soviet-made howitzers D-30, which were deployed in the then Soviet-influenced East Germany and handed over to Finland in the 1990s after German reunification, which it sold to Estonia in 2009.

Although other NATO countries, including the United States, Britain and Poland, have allowed arms transfers to Ukraine, Germany has not given such permission to Estonia, according to the newspaper.

Germany has not supported lethal arms exports in recent years,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a news conference on Friday.

As the WSJ points out, citing Estonian and German officials, Berlin extends this principle to these howitzers.

“The principle for arms exports is one, whether they come directly from Germany or from third countries – no permission has been given so far,” an unnamed German official told the newspaper, adding that it was currently impossible to predict how the process would develop.

“It is a test for the new German chancellor – how his coalition is able to respond to the international crisis,” said Michael O’Hennlon, an expert at the Brookings Institute in Washington. “Failure to achieve such moderate legislative changes will call into question his foreign policy leadership.”

Estonia, which once bought 42 D-30 howitzers from Finland, is still hoping to convince Germany, the WSJ said.

“Let’s hope Germany gives permission,” Kristo Enn Vaga, an adviser to Estonian Defense Minister Kalle Laanet, told the newspaper. “Estonia has confirmed that we want to provide all possible practical assistance to Ukraine.”

According to the Estonian newspaper Postimees, according to several sources, this type of howitzer is still used by dozens of countries, including Ukraine, about one and a half hundred.

German government officials have said they are opposed to arms transfers to Ukraine, fearing that such supplies could escalate tensions and hamper negotiations.

As Russia draws large forces and military equipment to Ukraine’s borders, there is growing concern in the West about the possibility of a serious military conflict in Europe.

At a meeting in Lithuania at the end of last year, the Baltic defense ministers expressed their immediate readiness to provide non-military and military support to Ukraine, including the supply of arms. Estonia indicated at the time that it intended to assist Ukraine with anti-tank weapons, Javelin missiles and 122 millimeter howitzers with ammunition, but explained that it had to obtain permission from the US, as well as Germany and Finland, before the final decision. The representative of the Finnish government said that this was a purely formal procedure, unrelated to the current situation in Ukraine.

On Friday, the defense ministers of the Baltic states in a joint statement confirmed their support for Ukraine, noting that the necessary permits for the transfer of armaments had been received from the United States. By strengthening the military capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Latvia and Lithuania will provide the anti-aircraft missile system “Stinger” and the necessary equipment, while Estonia will supply Ukraine with anti-tank missile systems “Javelin”. Lithuania also plans to hand over portable thermal imagers to Ukraine’s special task force, but Latvia will also send individual equipment and dry food supplies to Ukraine.

At the same time, the Baltic states have expressed hope that Ukraine will not need to use this equipment and have called on Russia to stop its aggressive and irresponsible actions.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Germany is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and exporters of arms, and its arms sales have increased by 21% between 2016 and 2020.

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