BERLIN — Germany will send 50 “Dingo” armored vehicles to Ukraine, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced on Thursday, marking yet another U-turn in the Berlin government’s stance on military support for Kyiv, just days after saying that such a decision was impossible.
“It is encouraging to see the successes that Ukraine has been able to achieve, especially in recent days, also with the help of German weapons,” Lambrecht told an annual conference of the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, in Berlin.
Besides delivering the 50 Dingos, the minister also said that Berlin would send two additional Mars multiple rocket launchers, in addition to the three previously sent by Germany.
The announcement comes as the German government has come under increasing criticism from Ukraine, the United States as well as domestic politicians in recent days for not stepping up arms deliveries. Since the outbreak of the Russian war in Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government has repeatedly insisted it cannot provide different types of military aid, only to finally back down amid heavy domestic pressure. and international.
The Dingo is an armored vehicle that Germany used, for example, during its military mission in Afghanistan to ensure the safe transport of troops. Basically, it’s not a battle tank, like the Leopard, or an infantry fighting vehicle, like the Marder – two heavier armories that, according to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Berlin would send to Ukraine only if other allies also agreed to deliver such Western tanks. reservoirs.
“There will be no unilateral German action,” Scholz has said repeatedly, most recently on Wednesday night.
However, Thursday’s decision to supply the Dingoes raises questions about the credibility of the German government’s arguments as Lambrecht had days earlier insisted that for various reasons it would be impossible to send such armored vehicles into Ukraine.
In an interview with POLITICO on Friday, the Minister of Defense – when asked why she had not yet sent Dingoes or similar armored vehicles to Ukraine, as France has already done – argued that she could not spare a single vehicle as they were needed to maintain Germany’s own. national defense as well as its military commitment in Mali.
Lambrecht had also blamed the frugal defense budget policies of previous governments, arguing that many of the vehicles his military owns on paper are not operational in reality.
“I would love to be able to give Ukraine a lot more,” she said in the interview on Friday.
On Monday, as Berlin faced fresh calls for more weapons amid Ukraine’s rapid battleground advances against Russia, Lambrecht said she had once again assessed over the week. -end if his army could provide more support to Ukraine, but concluded that it could not be done..
In his Thursday announcement, Lambrecht also said that Germany would soon be able to conclude a tank swap deal with Greece, under which Athens would send 40 BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine and receive 40 German Marders in return.