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Germany rejects arms deliveries to Ukraine

January 22, 2022

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said Berlin wants to "de-escalate" tensions and that supplying weapons would "not be helpful." Germany's move comes as other Western powers have pledged arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Border officers in Ukraine observe a vehicle digs out a trench near the border with Russia
Germany says weapons deliveries could potentially escalate the growing crisis on the Ukranian-Russian borderImage: Ukrainian Board Guard Press Off/AP/dpa/picture alliance

Germany's defense minister has said that sending arms to Ukraine would not be helpful in defusing the current situation as fears of a Russian invasion continue to mount.

In an interview published Saturday, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper there is consensus in the German government when it comes to barring the supply of weapons to Kyiv.

"We are standing on Kyiv's side. We have to do everything to de-escalate. Currently, arms deliveries would not be helpful in this respect; there is agreement on this in the German government," Lambrecht told the paper.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a news conference on Friday that in recent years, "Germany has not supported the export of lethal weapons."

The decision comes despite appeals from Kyiv to provide armaments.

A map showing where Russian forces have gathered on the border with Ukraine
Tensions over a potential invasion have been growing since Moscow began amassing thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine

Germany to provide medical assistance

While arms deliveries are off the table, Germany plans to send a field medical facility to Ukraine in February, Lambrecht said.

"Ukraine will receive a complete field hospital together the necessary training in February, all co-financed by Germany for €5.3 million ($6.01 million)," the defense minister said.

Germany's armed forces have been treating injured Ukrainian soldiers at its medical facilities for a number of years. Lambrecht added that Berlin has already delivered respirators to Ukraine.

Rising Russia-Ukraine tensions

Russia has sent around 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border, which has caused alarm in the West.

Ukraine has accused Russia of ramping up support for separatists in eastern breakaway regions of the country on Friday.

Moscow has denied it is planning an invasion, with the Kremlin demanding NATO halt its eastward expansion in the region and deny membership to Ukraine.

On the point of Ukraine's ambition's to join NATO, Lambrecht said Moscow didn't have a leg to stand on.

"There is no Russian veto right for membership to NATO. Every sovereign nation that shares our values is free to apply for membership. But beyond this red line, there is readiness from the West to speak with Russia and to take its interests into account," she said.

Diplomatic talks continue

Diplomatic measures have been taking place to address the regional security concerns.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia's top diplomat, Sergey Lavrov, met on Friday an attempt to defuse tensions.

The US has expressed a willingness for more dialogue on the matter, with Russia signalling a willingness to participate in further talks.

Russia previously attacked Ukraine in 2014, with Moscow ordering the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula. The move was met with condemnation and sanctions from the West. 

kb/rs (AFP, Reuters)

Ukrainian reservists prepare for conflict