Germany ‘is accused of deleting heavy weapons that Volodymyr Zelensky has on his arms wish list’

Germany ‘is accused of deleting heavy weapons that Volodymyr Zelensky has on his arms wish list’

  • Pressure is mounting on officials over ‘refusal to hand over armour to Ukraine’
  • Country’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz is singled out by Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky
  • He was accused of removing heavy weapons systems from agreed list

Pressure was mounting on Germany last night over a continued refusal to hand over heavy weapons to Ukraine as Chancellor Olaf Scholz was accused of deleting items from a Kyiv wish list.

Mr Scholz has been criticised by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as well as opposition parties in Germany for an apparent refusal to provide equipment, including tanks and howitzers, from its own stocks.

On Tuesday, Mr Scholz instead said Germany would provide Ukraine with £830million to buy weapons.

He was yesterday accused of removing heavy weapons systems, including Boxer transport vehicles and German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks, from a list agreed with Ukraine, according to details leaked to Bild newspaper. 

Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reportedly been accused of deleting items from Kyiv wish list

Germany has claimed sending heavy weaponry such as tanks from its own stocks would ‘significantly weaken’ its own defensive capability and leave the country unable to fulfil its own Nato requirements.

By contrast, Britain has provided at least £450million of military aid and weaponry, including armoured vehicles and anti-tank missiles.

Yesterday, the US announced a further £612million of military aid including heavy artillery weapons, dozens of howitzers and tactical drones, following a similar-sized package of assistance earlier this month.

The apparent leak of the weapons list appears to confirm claims from Andrij Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, earlier this week, who said: ‘The weapons we need are not even on this list.’ The agreed list came to just £257million – about a third of that promised by Mr Scholz.

Germany instead reached an agreement yesterday with allies in eastern Europe to supply Ukraine with heavy artillery, tanks and armoured vehicles provided by other countries before Berlin replenishes stocks, defence minister Christine Lambrecht said.

It will also train Ukrainian soldiers to use its Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers, reportedly sent by the Netherlands.

Mrs Lambrecht said Germany cannot send the howitzers itself as its army ‘does not have the stocks’. The opposition party may force a vote on the issue next week, forcing Mr Scholz into an embarrassing backtrack.