Ukraine blasts Germany's 'excuses' over tank deliveries

AFP - [email protected]
Ukraine blasts Germany's 'excuses' over tank deliveries
Ukrainian soldiers stand on a country road in the liberated territory in the Kharkiv region on Monday September 12th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AP | Kostiantyn Liberov

Ukraine's Foreign Minister on Tuesday slammed Berlin for its failure so far to deliver Leopard battle tanks despite repeated pleas from Kyiv.


"Not a single rational argument on why these weapons cannot be supplied, only abstract fears and excuses," said Dmytro Kuleba.

"What is Berlin afraid of that Kyiv is not?" he said in a post on Twitter.

After initial reluctance to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons to beat back the Russian invasion, Germany has since upped its support for Kyiv's troops.

Piles of ammunition and rocket launchers have been delivered to Ukraine, as well as dozens of anti-aircraft tanks and howitzers.


Kyiv is however pushing for more weapons deliveries to consolidate recent battlefield gains, including Leopard battle tanks.

But Berlin has so far declined to send the battle tanks, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday saying Germany would not "go it alone" on weapons deliveries without coordinating with allies.

READ ALSO: Why has Germany been so slow to deliver weapons?

His Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht on Monday also stressed that no country had sent Western-made battle tanks to Ukraine.

"We agreed that there will be no go-it-alone in Germany," she said, reiterating Scholz's remarks at a separate event.

Scholz meanwhile argued that Germany has already "delivered very efficient weapons that are making the difference on the battlefield at the moment".

Germany would "support Ukraine as long as is necessary", he added.

Ukraine launched a lightning counter-offensive in early September that has resulted in it reclaiming control of vast tracts of land in the northeast and south of the country.

READ ALSO: Majority of Germanys ‘in favour’ of delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine

More tanks ready

German arms maker Rheinmetall told public broadcaster ARD that 16 Marder infantry fighting vehicles it had restored at its own cost were "ready to be delivered" to Ukraine, if officials in Berlin gave the go-ahead.

Besides the Leopard battle tanks, the Marders are high up on the list of items Ukraine has urged Berlin to supply.

Rheinmetall was preparing another 14 Marders, with the potential to supply a further 70 vehicles out of storage, ARD reported.

The raging debate over the Leopards and Marders was reminiscent of the earlier uproar over Germany's initial stuttering response on providing military support to Kyiv.

Scholz's government only made a U-turn after much public haranguing by Ukrainian leaders, and the Chancellor has since said Germany would take on "special responsibility" to help Ukraine build up its artillery and air defence systems.


But Ukraine's urgent pleas for Leopard tanks and Marder vehicles have so far gone unanswered, and even figures from within the ruling coalition of Scholz's Social Democrats, the liberal FDP and the Greens, are urging the chancellor to relent.

Berlin's reluctance to send the armour came "at the expense of Ukraine" the head of the parliamentary defence committee, FDP MP Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, told AFP.

Germany should "stop hiding behind other countries", senior Green MP Anton Hofreiter told the RND media network.

"Sooner or later we will not be able to avoid supplying modern, western main battle tanks to Ukraine," he said.

Agreements with allies over weapons deliveries were not "set in stone", Michael Roth, the social democrat chair of the Bundestag's foreign policy committee, told public radio Deutschlandfunk.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also