April 19. 2024. 8:59

The Daily

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Ukraine second-largest destination for German arms deliveries


Ukraine was the second-largest recipient of German arms exports, receiving €500 million worth of deliveries in the first quarter of 2023 amid promises of further support from Berlin.

Following initial criticism of its hesitancy to supply heavy weaponry to Ukraine, Berlin has become one of the country’s key military backers, most recently providing Kyiv with 18 Leopard 2 battle tanks, considered some of the most potent weapons in the West’s arsenal.

Once Germany began arms deliveries to an active war zone for the first time in its history, Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the policy change a “Zeitenwende” or turning point.

“Changing our position took some time, but it took too long, and it was too late, I know that,” Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck said during a visit to Kyiv on Monday (3 April), when speaking to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“Not all the German politicians would say the same,” he added.

German politicians like the SPD chief whip Rolf Mützenich, often criticised for their reluctance to send additional arms to Ukraine, has recently admitted to mistakes. “I too have mistakes, I too have failures to confess, he said in late February.

For Habeck, these “mistakes” have seemingly become a source of motivation.

“I feel deeply ashamed that this was all too late, and part of my job was in the last year to help bring weapons as fast and as many as we could,” he told Zelenskyy in Kyiv. “This is an ongoing promise.”

According to official German government statistics, Ukraine took second place as a destination of government-approved total €2.4 billion in arms exports in the first quarter of 2023.

Kyiv received almost €500 million in arms, coming in second after Hungary’s imports of €760 million worth of military goods, which according to statistics, mostly amounted to ammunition.

In the first three quarters of 2022, Ukraine took second place, too – with total arms exports of about €780 million approved over nine months. Data for the fourth quarter has not been made available yet.

Just in late March, Germany delivered 18 Leopard-2 battle tanks in concert with two other countries, 40 Marder armoured personnel carriers and two Wisent mince-clearing tanks – alongside various other goods.

The German government says that total approved support for Ukraine totals €2.7 billion, although this figure does not include goods that do not require government consent – like sanitary goods or trucks.

Another source of data, the Ukraine support tracker maintained by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy pegs Germany’s military support at €3.57 billion, putting the country in third place after the UK and the US.

Military goods that Germany has yet to deliver include 300,000 shots for the anti-aircraft-gun Gepard alongside three additional models, two unspecified radars for airspace surveillance, and the Patriot anti-aircraft system.