Germany’s offer to send 5,000 helmets to Ukraine provokes outrage
On March 2, 2014, several hundred soldiers occupied positions near a Ukrainian military station in Crimea.
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Germany provoked anger in certain quarters when it offered to send 5,000 Ukrainian military helmets as a defense mechanism against possible Russian invasion.
While U.S. and U.K. sent military hardware, including to Ukraine to aid it in its defence against possible Russian military aggressions, over 100,000 Russian troops may be found along Ukraine’s borders. Germany however has been conspicuously slow to send the equipment.
A few officials from Ukraine reacted negatively to the Wednesday offer for helmets. One of them, Vitali Klitschko (a former champion boxer from the world), who is Kyiv’s mayor dismissed the offer and said that it left him speechless.
The behavior of the German government has left me speechless. “The defense ministry seems to have forgotten that we face perfectly-equipped Russian forces capable of invading Ukraine anytime,” he told the Bild newspaper on Wednesday.
“What kind support is Germany sending next?” He was curious. “Pillows?”
Christine Lambrecht (Defense Minister) stated that Berlin responded to a request for military equipment on Wednesday, specifically helmets. Bild reported also that the German government was responding to a request by Ukraine for assistance. We need 100,000 combat helmets, tactical vests.
Although Germany previously stated it would supply Ukraine with a fully-equipped field hospital, German officials seem reluctant to provide additional defensive weapons.
In an interview with Welt am Sonntag last weekend, Germany’s defense minister stated that arming Ukraine is not a good idea while efforts are made to calm tensions between Russia & Ukraine.
“We stand by Kyiv. To de-escalate, we must do everything possible. Currently, arms deliveries would not be helpful in this respect; there is agreement on this in the German government,” Lambrecht told the paper last Saturday, according to a translation by Deutsche Welle.
Her comments come after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a news conference on Friday that in recent years, “Germany has not supported the export of lethal weapons,” DW reported.
Not only that, Germany has reportedly blocked Baltic nation Estonia from providing German-origin military support to Ukraine, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal last Friday.
Germany’s new chancellor stated last week that “staying silent is not a sensible option”After years of tension at Europe’s borders, Germany and France might prefer to use crisis talks with Russia or Ukraine to avoid a potential confrontation. The four countries met in Paris on Wednesday to discuss the matter. NATO and the U.S. have been trying to arm Ukraine to help it defend itself and not send troops.
Ukraine is not part of the Western military alliance, so it is not required to protect it. Even though Ukraine aspires, it isn’t a member in full of either the EU or NATO.
NATO allies find themselves in an awkward position because they have to assist Ukraine with its defense against Russia. Russia is looking to increase its influence in the former Soviet countries, such as Ukraine and Belarus.
Russia already took territory from Ukraine in 2014, after it annexed Crimea. Russia has supported an uprising by pro-Russians in Ukraine, and it is believed that the Donbass has been arming pro-Russian separatists. However, this has not been confirmed.
Many analysts think that Russia may be looking for an excuse to invade Ukraine given Russia’s past aggression against Ukraine. Western allies are not taking chances and NATO has placed its forces on standby and reinforced its positions in Eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets being sent to the region.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has put thousands of troops on heightened alert, meaning they are ready to deploy to the region should the crisis escalate.Short-range anti-tank rockets were sent to Ukraine by the U.K., and it is believed that Britain may be considering sending additional troops to east Europe as part of its efforts to strengthen NATO forces. according to Sky News.
According to the U.S. Embassy, Tuesday’s landing of a plane with 300 Javelin missiles and launchers for anti-tank weapons, as well as other hardware, was part of “79 Tons of Security Assistance” for Ukraine.
Russia, for its part, has stated repeatedly that it doesn’t intend to invade Ukraine. However, it has requested NATO legal assurances to ensure Ukraine is not admitted to NATO. It also wants to see an end to NATO deployments in Eastern Europe.
Officially responding to Russia’s security concerns on Wednesday was the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, who handed over the written reply to the Kremlin. While the Biden administration did not make the answers public, it made clear that Russia’s requests, which included excluding Ukraine from the NATO alliance, were not “starters.”
Germany, which has historically enjoyed strong economic relations and trade with Russia, is in another tricky geopolitical and economic position. The fate of Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline that connects Russia and Germany, is the focus of current tensions.
By taking Russian natural gas directly to Germany (it supplies approximately 40% of the EU’s natural gas), the pipeline will allow for increased Russian gas supplies.
Germany’s refusal to send offensive weapons to Ukraine is likely due to its 20th-century roots. Germany’s history of World War I/ II and subsequent wars are deeply embedded in Germany’s political consciousness, which makes it easy for critics and potential condemnation to get into military conflicts.
CNBC’s former Energy Secretary to Donald Trump said Wednesday that he was “very worried” about the situation at Ukraine’s border. Perry also stated that Putin is “a good poker player”. He also criticised Germany for “not being able to deal with Russia.”
Because of Russia’s lack of resolve, I am very critical of Germany in this moment. I saw this as the potential for the Germans potentially being the wheelhouse, if you will, of that energy through Europe — they wanted to work with the Russians, they wanted to be the country that could control where this gas went,” he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.
Germany was “paying a heavy price” now that it is playing “footsies” with Russia and giving them the chance to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipe, but he did not criticize the Biden administration for allowing Russia to continue the Nord Stream Pipeline. He said it was nothing but a means to keep Europe captive.
To their credit, the U.S.A., U.K. & EU indicated that they would impose harsh sanctions on Russia’s key areas and employees if Russia invades Ukraine. President Joe Biden has even said that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, could be personally sanctioned.