Germany gives in to pressure from Western allies, pledges tanks export to Ukraine
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has agreed to authorize export of battle tanks to Ukraine
Rheinmetall. a German defence company had requested to export 88 Leopord 1A5 and 100 Marder infantry vehicles
The decision comes after mounting pressure from Opposition, citizens and Western allies alike
According to Reuters, Rheinmetall, a German defence company, had requested permission to export 88 old Leopord 1A5 and 100 old Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. In the proposal, the company also assured that it will replenish the military vehicles months ahead of sending them.
The development is a breakthrough given Germany's long-standing policy of not exporting arms to war zones, adhering to which Germany, unlike other Western allies, had not provided arms to Ukraine prior to Russia's invasion on February 24 and even prohibited other nations from suppling German-origin military equipment.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was facing rising backlash at home and abroad for his government's inability to deploy heavy weaponry to Ukraine. This came in the face of continual military reinforcements from Western allies to assist the wrecked country in defending itself against Russian attacks.
Scholz had countered by saying that Germany's military reserves were too exhausted to provide any powerful battlefield weaponry such as tanks and howitzers, and that those that German industry claimed it could supply would be difficult to use.
Sholz's indecisiveness in this subject had pitted his Social Democrats (SPD) against coalition allies, the Greens, and the Free Democrats (FPD). Additionally, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) was adamant about filing a motion demanding for immediate weapons exports. Scholz's position would have been jeopardised if FPD and the Greens had approved the motion.
This is when Rheinmetall applied to the country's national security council for clearance to export the heavy weapons shipment, hence pushing the Scholz government to finally take a decision.
This influx of German heavy weapons to Ukraine's arsenal will give the country an equal playing field against Russia in Donbas, a terrain viewed as better suited for tank operations than the areas around Kyiv, where much of the action had previously occurred.