As German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is facing growing criticism for not sending more arms to Ukraine, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced an agreement to send heavy weapons to the Ukrainians via Eastern European countries.
Under the plan, Eastern European countries will send Soviet-made equipment to Ukraine, and Germany will then replenish the stocks with German-made weapons. “It’s about tanks, armored vehicles, or other options individual countries are able to give,” Lambrecht said.
Lambrecht didn’t announce a specific transfer of arms that would happen but said the agreement will deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine “in the next few days.” According to a report from DW, Slovenia is expected to send a large number T-72 tanks to Ukraine. In exchange, Germany will send Slovenia Marder tanks and Fox wheeled tanks.
Ukrainian forces are only trained to use older Russian-made weapons. Lambrecht said Germany will train Ukrainian forces on how to use German-made Panzerhaubitze 2000 tanks that the Netherlands is reportedly sending to Ukraine.
Lambrecht said that Germany couldn’t send the Panzerhaubitze 2000s itself because the German military doesn’t have the stocks. Germany has depleted its own military stockpile by sending arms to Kyiv, and Scholz is now looking to German arms makers to send weapons directly to Ukraine.
Scholz has come under pressure from his own coalition government for not acting fast enough to send heavy weapons to Ukraine. Berlin has also come under criticism from Ukraine, which recently rejected a visit from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier over alleged ties to Russia.