Arming Ukraine would leave Germany unable to meet NATO goals: Berlin
Ukraine is still trying to seek arms from Germany, asking for infantry fighting vehicles from Berlin despite the latter stressing that it could not provide as its arms could not suffice for its NATO membership.
Berlin supplying Ukraine with infantry fighting vehicles from its own national stock would leave Germany underequipped and unable to fulfill its obligations under NATO, the country's deputy chief of staff said on Wednesday.
"We would no longer be able to react to eventualities, and that would significantly weaken our defensive capability," stressed Lieutenant General Markus Laubenthal.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had come under fire over his refusal to send heavy weapons to Ukraine from his country's stock, though his decision was backed by the German military.
According to the official, if Germany were to do that, it would be unable to defend itself, promising Ukraine some one billion euros to buy weapons instead.
"The claim the Bundeswehr is no longer able to deliver anything to Ukraine is incomprehensible," said Ukrainian ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk.
There are proposals surrounding Germany's refusal to provide Ukraine with tanks, among which is Berlin giving Kiev 100 Marder infantry fighting vehicles.
Kiev had schemed to buy 100 decommissioned Marders from German defense firm Rheinmetall. However, the manufacturer said they needed to be restored and it would be several months before they would be operational.
In response, Ukraine proposed an arrangement that would see Germany sending 100 of its operation Marders to Ukraine and take the restored vehicles in their place, though Scholz rejected this offer.
The Ukrainian ambassador underlined that Germany had 400 Marders, 100 of which Berlin only used for training and were "expendable" and could easily be sent to Ukraine.
Launbenthal rebutted these claims, asserting that Germany was using its extra Marders for spare parts to keep its armed forces operational.
"That means we are using them, so to speak, so that we can actually deploy those we need for our Nato obligations and on Nato's eastern flank," he stressed.
Military experts have also warned Berlin that supplying ammunition for any Marders given to Ukraine would cause several issues and would be challenging for the country, especially since the army's stocks are low, leaving Germany high and dry.
The political row seems to be unlikely to fade away anytime soon for Scholz, with rumors emerging about the opposite Christian Democrats planning to force a parliament vote over sending arms to Kiev.
Scholz's coalition itself has mixed views on the issue, which makes it very likely for him to lose the vote and be forced by the Bundestag to arm Ukraine despite his citations of the scarcity of arms.
In light of the war in Ukraine and according to a study conducted by INSA pollsters at the request of Bild am Sonntag, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's popularity rating has reached its lowest point since he took office last December, with over half of the people dissatisfied with his policies.
Right-wing National Rally party leader Marine Le Pen called on Friday for ending France's weapons manufacturing cooperation with Germany, citing divergent visions over the future of Europe's security.