Germany overwhelmingly approves heavy weapons deliveries to Ukraine
German lawmakers are ready to send "heavy weapons and complex systems" to Ukraine.
German lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of supplying Ukraine with "large weaponry and complicated [weapons] systems" to assist Kiev in combating Russia's military operation in Ukraine.
The petition was approved on Thursday with 586 votes in favor, 100 votes opposed, and seven abstentions.
The vote in Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, signifies a historic u-turn in policy after the government delayed delivering heavy equipment for weeks.
What weapons will Germany send to Kiev?
In addition to heavy weapons like anti-aircraft systems and armored vehicles, the German parliament approved measures for supplying heavier equipment to NATO's eastern partners.
According to the proposal approved by the government coalition and the largest opposition party, the conservative Christian Democrats, military aid should continue and be increased whenever possible (CDU).
Germany will also send more troops to strengthen NATO's position in Eastern Europe, as well as persuade Russian soldiers to surrender their weapons and seek asylum in Germany and the EU.
Furthermore, the bill calls on China to "abandon its acceptance of war" and actively support a truce.
Why did some oppose the deliveries?
The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) argued that the initiative amounted to a declaration of war.
The move would prolong the bloodshed in Ukraine and "may make us party to a nuclear war," according to Tino Chrupalla, the AfD's most senior Bundestag lawmaker.
The socialist Left Party was also against the move, pointing to earlier statements by Chancellor Olaf Scholz about how heavy weapons deliveries increase the risk of a nuclear escalation.
Scholz, a member of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), had rejected the plan just days before making a U-turn with the delivery of anti-aircraft tanks earlier this week.
"Every day there is a different course, I can't keep up anymore, and many people in this country feel the same way," the Left Party's Dietmar Bartsch said. The Left Party also said that delivering more weapons would simply make the war last longer.
In response, Nils Schmid of the ruling SPD party stated that weapons supply would assist end the crisis faster by putting Ukraine in a stronger position.
Schmid also said the initiative was following two basic principles, one of Germany not being at war, and the other principle of "Putin must not win this war."
"This is why we support Ukraine with everything we have at our disposal, politically, diplomatically, economically, and of course, in a very measured way, militarily," he said.
However, the move is unlikely to help Scholz overcome allegations of being indecisive in Ukraine. According to a new dpa/YouGov poll, 45% of Germans are dissatisfied with his handling of the situation, and only 37% approve of his approach to the war.