In the first three months of the Ukraine war, the German government struggled with supplying arms to the country attacked by Russia. Criticism continues to come not only from the Ukrainian side, but also from the traffic light coalition.
The FDP defense politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann blames the Chancellery and the Ministry of Defense for delays and poor communication. What Germany has delivered so far:
Shortly after the start of the Russian offensive at the end of February, the German government decided to deliver the first weapons. At the beginning of March, the Ukrainian armed forces received, among other things, 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 “Stinger” surface-to-air missiles from Bundeswehr stocks. The delivery of 2700 Strela anti-tank missiles from former GDR stocks was also approved.
As a result, the federal government held back with further concrete information about arms deliveries. The “Spiegel” recently reported, citing Ukrainian government circles, that Germany has now provided additional anti-tank weapons: In the first two weeks of May, 2,450 portable anti-tank weapons of the RGW 90 Matador type, 1,600 DM22 anti-tank mines and 3,000 DM31 anti-tank mines were in Ukraine arrived.
At the end of April, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) gave an overview of the deliveries made up to that point in the Bundestag. In addition to the known deliveries, she also named ammunition in the double-digit million range, bunker fists, machine guns, hand grenades in the six-digit number and explosive charges. Artillery ammunition was also made available by the industry.
For two months, the German government hesitated to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons. The reason was apparently the fear of being seen by Moscow itself as a war party. After massive criticism and pressure from home and abroad, the green light came at the end of April for the delivery of 30 decommissioned Gepard anti-aircraft tanks via the industry. They come from the armaments company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), but first have to be repaired.
According to the Federal Ministry of Defense, the first 15 copies are to go to Ukraine in mid-July, and the remaining 15 by the end of August. Industry in Germany is supposed to train Ukrainian soldiers. But the problem is the ammo. So far, around 59,000 shots are ready, which has often been criticized as insufficient due to the high firing rate of the anti-aircraft guns.
At the beginning of May, Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) announced the sale of seven 2000 self-propelled howitzers from Bundeswehr stocks.
On May 11, training of Ukrainian soldiers on howitzers mounted on a tank chassis also began in Germany. It is scheduled to be completed after around 40 days in June. According to the Ministry of Defence, the self-propelled howitzers should also be available before the end of the training. They are currently being repaired.
Since April, the federal government has also relied on indirect tank deliveries via eastern NATO partners. At that time, a planned exchange of rings with Slovenia was confirmed. The NATO ally is to deliver the T-72 main battle tank to Kyiv, which was developed in the Soviet Union and which, unlike Western equipment, can be used by Ukrainian soldiers without training. In return, the Slovenian army was to receive the Marder armored personnel carrier and the Fuchs wheeled armored vehicle from Germany. To date, however, the deal is apparently not sealed.
There is another ring exchange project with the Czech Republic: Prague is to hand over 20 T-72 main battle tanks to the Ukraine and in return receive 14 Leopard 2 A4 main battle tanks and a Leopard 2-based armored recovery vehicle from Germany.