BBC's Katya Adler highlights WW2 reason why Germans will not export weapons to Ukraine

Since late 2021, Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops along the border of Ukraine, prompting the US, UK and NATO allies to send their support. However, Germany has refused to allow a NATO ally to export weapons to Ukraine.

Earlier in January, Germany blocked Estonia from exporting German-origin weapons to be exported to Kiev.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a German government spokesman said the impasse results from a longstanding policy regarding arms exports to tense regions.

He said: “The principle governing arms exports is always the same — whether they come directly from Germany or from third countries — and no permission has been issued at this stage.

“It is not possible to estimate the outcome of the process at this moment.”

Ms Adler noted in a Twitter thread Germany is “still deciding” whether to allow Estonia to export German-made weapons to Ukraine.

She said: “Adding to my Germany-Russia-Ukraine thread below, German government is ‘still deciding’ whether to grant NATO ally Estonia permission to export German-origin weapons to Ukraine.

“German Foreign Min said ‘Our restrictive position is well known and is rooted in history’ ie WW2.”

It came after Christine Lambrecht, German Defence Minister said Berlin plans to send a field medical facility to Ukraine.

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Speaking on Sunday, Ms Lambrecht said a “complete field hospital will be handed over, including the necessary training, all co-financed by Germany to the tune of 5.3 million euros”.

However, she said arms transfers to Ukraine were not an option and added: “Weapons deliveries would not be helpful at the moment – that is the consensus in the federal government.”

Andrij Melnyk, Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany, has repeated his calls for more defence aid, saying Kyiv “urgently needs 100,000 helmets and protective vests for the volunteers who are just signing up for the military to defend their homeland together with the armed forces”.

He added: “The seriousness of the situation demands an immediate rethink and change of course from the [German coalition] government on the issue of arms deliveries to Ukraine.”


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On Saturday, the US embassy shared America’s first shipment of its $200million security support package for Ukraine arrived in Kyiv.

Later on Monday, the Pentagon announced it is putting 8,500 US troops on “heightened alert” for possible deployment to Eastern Europe amid the crisis.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said during a briefing: “No decisions have been made to deploy any forces from the United States at this time.”

The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will also send US-made anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine.

It comes as China reportedly joined Russia for a large naval drill as tensions increase over Ukraine.

According to the Interfax news agency, Russian and Chinese navies held military exercises in the Arabian Sea.

The agency cited Russia’s defence ministry as saying the drills were being carried out on Tuesday.

It comes after Iranian state media also reported the country had joined Russia and China in a joint naval drill in the Indian Ocean.

State TV said on Friday, 11 of the country’s vessels were joined by three Russian ships, including a destroyer, and two Chinese vessels. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was also participating with smaller ships and helicopters.

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