• Germany's news in English

Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia

Tom Bristow · 23 Apr 2014, 16:18

Published: 23 Apr 2014 16:18 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The German government banned sales of arms classed as “weapons of war” - including nuclear, biological and chemical weapons - to Russia in January 2000, but that has not stopped German firms exporting tens of millions of euros of other military equipment each year.

In 2012, the Economics Ministry granted 450 licenses to export military gear worth €40.4 million to Russia, according to the German government’s Military Equipment Report. Over the same period it denied 18 arms export licenses to the country.

The report, first published in November 2013, describes sales to Russia of equipment including rifles, pistols, a “mobile command and control operations centre”, communication and navigation equipment, trucks, armoured vehicles and spare parts.

Germany also allowed companies to sell €325,124 worth of rifle bullets to Russia in the same year.

Russia analyst Lilit Gevorgyan from London-based IHS Global Insight told The Local the arms deals were just one example of how much Russia needed western countries to help it modernize.

“Russia has been developing into the global economy for the past two decades and it is only natural that trade relations would expand into military trading,” she said.

But she added those relations could end if tensions in eastern Ukraine continue to escalate. “It is difficult to see how the German government would explain their military trade with Russia,” Gevorgyan said.

A €120-million deal signed in 2011 between German arms firm Rheinmetall and the Russian military has proved the most controversial with Germany's western allies.

Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall had been due to complete a combat simulation training centre in southwest Russia this year with the capacity to train 30,000 troops a year. 

The deal was put on hold by the German government at the end of March in light of the Ukraine crisis. Yet this has failed to quell American suspicions that Russian special forces recently deployed in Crimea had already benefited in some way from German training.

And according to military export reports, the Rheinmetall deal is just one part of German military dealings with Russia.

In 2011, Germany also granted 438 arms export licenses to Russia and denied seven.

“People are pissed,” one US intelligence official was quoted as telling US news site The Daily Beast on Tuesday.

A senior Senate aide also told The Daily Beast: “It’s unfortunate that German companies were directly supporting and training Russia’s military even during the attacks against Ukraine.

“The US government should call on our Nato allies to suspend all military connections with Russia at this point, until the Russians leave Ukraine, including Crimea.”

The US Embassy in Berlin declined to comment on the reports of American anger with Germany when asked by The Local on Wednesday.

A German Foreign Office statement accompanying the military export reports said the government “pursues a responsible and restrictive licensing policy” regarding arms.

“In contrast to practices in a number of other countries, Germany does not treat arms exports as an instrument of foreign policy. Decisions on arms exports are taken after careful consideration of external, security and human rights aspects,” it said.

Back in 2012, a US congressional report warned that arms sales to Russia could pose a risk to security. However, Germany appears to have dismissed these concerns.

“French, German, and Italian officials stress that recent military sales to Russia should be viewed as a logical step in advancing a broader political goal of strategic partnership with Russia,” the 2012 report said.

SEE ALSO: Russian spies step up activity in Germany

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tom Bristow (tom.bristow@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd