The German government has rejected a request from Lithuania for Boxer tanks, according to a newspaper report. The decision has been criticized by both sides of the German governing coalition.
The German government has said it will not fulfill a request from its NATO ally and European Union partner Lithuania for the delivery of so-called Boxer tanks, a media report said on Sunday, citing the German Defense Ministry.
"A delivery of armored transport vehicles from the German army or the resale of vehicles that are to be procured in the next few years is not in our plans," a ministry spokesman said, according to Die Welt am Sonntag.
The paper reported that the decision was made in view of the German military's own requirements.
Lithuania's request came amid security fears fueled by Russia's alleged role in fighting in Ukraine, where Moscow has been accused by several countries of fomenting a pro-Russian insurgency and supplying weapons, equipment and even troops to support pro-Russian separatists. Moscow has denied any role in fighting and maintains any Russian soldiers in Ukraine are "volunteers."
The decision by Berlin to reject the request has been criticized by defense commentators on both side of the governing German grand coalition, the paper said.
"We have a great interest in increasing the capability of our NATO partners in the Baltic," Social Democrat defense expert Rainer Arnold was quoted as saying.
Florian Hahn of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, said the fears of Baltic states were justified in view of the Ukraine crisis.
"In this position we are required to support our NATO and EU partners as much as possible. That is also the case for procurement plans like this one for the Boxer transport tank," he said.
tj/sms (dpa, AFP)