February 25, 2024

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Germany pledges quick decision on first delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine

Germany pledges quick decision on first delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will decide soon whether to approve the delivery of 100 old Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, a German government spokesman said on Monday, in what would be Germany’s first shipment of heavy weapons to Ukraine.

German defense company Rheinmetall (RHMG.DE) A defense source told Reuters, on Monday, that he had requested approval to export the vehicles to Ukraine, with the aim of recovering them in the coming months before they were shipped.

Rheinmetall also requested approval to export 88 old Leopard 1A5 tanks to Ukraine, German newspaper Die Welt reported, citing documents. Read more

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Rheinmetall’s move is set to force Chancellor Olaf Schultz to take a clear stand on whether heavy weapons can be sent directly from Germany to Ukraine because the deals require approval from the National Security Council, which Schulz chairs.

A spokesperson for Rheinmetall declined to comment.

Schulz is facing growing criticism at home and abroad for his reluctance to deliver heavy weapons such as tanks and howitzers to help Ukraine fend off Russian attacks. Read more

A German government spokesman did not give a timeframe for when a decision on the Marder deal would be made.

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht wrote in a letter to the ruling coalition last week that export requests to Ukraine “will be examined with absolute priority. After coordination in the Cabinet, they will be decided on the same day as a general rule.”

On Sunday, the US secretaries of state and defense pledged, in their first visit to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion two months ago, additional military aid to Kyiv, including advanced weapons. Read more

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Ukrainians’ pleas for heavy weapons have intensified since Moscow shifted its offensive to the eastern Donbass region, an area seen as more suitable for tank battles than the areas around Kiev, where most of the battles have taken place thus far.

Moscow describes its actions in Ukraine, now entering its third month, as a “special military operation.”

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Additional reporting by Sabine Siebold, Miranda Murray, Rachel Moore, Alexander Ratz, Sarah Marsh, and Annelle Balmain; Editing by David Goodman, Edmund Blair and Margarita Choi

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.