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Why Germany Won’t Send Military Arms to Ukraine

Germany
German Leopard 2 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Is the Gas Pipeline Behind Germany’s Refusal To Send Defensive Arms to Ukraine?: On Monday President Joe Biden said that NATO and Western leaders were linked in unity against further Russian aggression in Ukraine. But despite other Western nations sending defensive arms to bulk up Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the German government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s refusal to do so stands in stark contrast to the rest of NATO. 

What Is Germany Up To?

While Western leaders wondered why Germany would break with the consensus of their alliance, the answer may rest with the gas pipeline that Russia will supply Germany with the majority of its energy needs. 

This refusal by the Germans even went so far from blocking Estonia from selling Ukraine the old Soviet-designed 122-mm D-30 howitzers. This action left other Western and NATO wondering what costs Germany would be willing to bear to deter further Russian aggression in Ukraine and also, and more worrying for NATO, they are left to ponder how reliable a partner Germany, the richest and largest democracy in Western Europe will be in the future. 

Scholz however, denied that his government had made a decision on selling the howitzers from Estonia and insisted that his country stands with its NATO and European Union allies in opposing any Russian incursion into Ukraine.

“Should this situation occur, we will jointly act,” he said to the media. “There would be a high price.”

But his government believes that by supplying weapons to Ukraine, rather than diffuse the situation, it will be making it worse, mirroring the same stance taken by Moscow, which has surrounded Ukraine on three sides with more than 127,000 troops. 

Germany, instead, according to Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, a complete medical hospital will be sent to Ukraine in February. 

She spoke to the newspaper Die Welt for their Sunday edition and 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.”

“Weapons deliveries would not be helpful at the moment – that is the consensus in the federal government,” she added. 

Germany has been sending mixed signals to its NATO and Western neighbors, While stating that they are clearly standing in unity with NATO over any Russian invasion into Ukraine, a German military chief spoke with apparent empathy for Russia and President Vladimir Putin

While on a visit to India on January 21, the head of the German Navy Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schonbach said that what Putin “really wants is respect,” adding that it would be “easy to give him the respect he really demands and probably also deserves.”

Schonbach also said that “the Crimean Peninsula is gone. It will never come back” meaning that Ukraine would never get it back.

Schonbach then took to Twitter and apologized for his remarks, calling them a “clear mistake.” He resigned the next day on January 22. The German Defense Ministry then attempted damage control, stating that Schonbach’s comments, saying they “in no way correspond to the position of the Defense Ministry.”

Ukraine called the German refusal to help them in supplying arms “unacceptable”. Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk spoke with the newspaper Handelsblatt on Sunday spelling the need for aid. 

“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,” Melnyk said. 

“This patronizing attitude subconsciously also reminds Ukrainians of the horrors of the Nazi occupation, when Ukrainians were treated as subhuman,” he added.

Why Germany Won’t Send Arms to Ukraine

Germany has two factors that are making it reluctant to send arms to Ukraine. One is their own checkered history. The Nazi Germany government invaded most of Europe during World War II and took Ukraine and a large area of the Soviet Union. The Germans are reluctant to take proactive steps in security matters. As a result, Germany appears more appeasing to Moscow rather than confronting it. 

And the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline may have a large factor in this. Germany is becoming more and more dependent on natural gas as they move towards renewable and alternative energy. They plan on shutting down their last three nuclear power plants and also have plans to completely phase out coal by 2030. That leaves them dependent on Russia and their natural gas Nord Stream 2 pipeline. 

The Germans believe that Russia won’t shut off the pipeline for fears that it will show the rest of Europe and elsewhere that Moscow isn’t a reliable trade partner and that this gives them leverage in negotiations. 

But many Europeans and even German opposition lawmakers feel that this tack that the government is taking is a big mistake. Norbert Röttgen, a senior conservative lawmaker said Germany is crucial to the West’s unity. 

“Putin’s goal is to split the Europeans, and then split Europe and the U.S.,” he said.  

“If the impression prevails that Germany is not fully committed to a strong NATO response, he will have succeeded in paralyzing Europe and dividing the alliance.”

While President Joe Biden was widely criticized over the weekend for implying that NATO was split, it now appears that despite the claims of unity, Europe’s biggest partner in NATO is waffling on the situation. 

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 1945, he covers the NFL for PatsFans.com and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.

Written By

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 1945, he covers the NFL for PatsFans.com and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Alex

    January 27, 2022 at 12:34 pm

    Germany remembers what war is. And no one, not even the United States, will order her to go to war against Russia again.

  2. Commentar

    January 27, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    Heh, heh. Germans probably still remember the battle of Brody (western ukraine), where soviet forces in july 1944 cornered and wiped out a force of 40,000 to 50,000 german and ukrainian nazi soldiers.

    Some of the ukrainian nazis who survived brody went on to form a fascist insurgent force that fought on until the 1950s when they were finally extinguished or wiped out 3rd r.

    Germany surely won’t want to have that dark history repeat itself in ukraine.

  3. aMongoose

    January 28, 2022 at 9:59 am

    I figured the worries when they weren’t helping was that if they do Russia will make them freeze this winter.
    When a country controls your energy it controls you

  4. Michael Veritas

    January 28, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    Mr. Balestrieri early retirement must have been a head injury. Ukrainians were treated as sub-humans by Nazi Germany? That’s kinda strange since they had their own SS division. Yes, the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician) Steve also forgot to mention Crimea was Russian from 1784 to 1954. The Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev transferred the area to Ukraine against the wishes of local people. Steve Balestrieri should remember half the truth is still a lie!

  5. from Russia with love

    January 31, 2022 at 10:43 am

    Michael Veritas:
    “Mr. Balestrieri early retirement must have been a head injury. Ukrainians were treated as sub-humans by Nazi Germany? That’s kinda strange since they had their own SS division. Yes, the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician) ”
    right. let’s add to this participation in punitive operations, the protection of death camps, participation in massacres and direct involvement in the Holocaust and genocide of citizens of the USSR. their blo is much less than those who fought against the German invaders, but they were. and now these Nazis are being heroized by the authorities in Ukraine that you support. now you support the followers of those Nazis from the SS “Galicia”. doesn’t it bother you?

    “Steve also forgot to mention Crimea was Russian from 1784 to 1954. The Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev transferred the area to Ukraine against the wishes of local people.”
    1784 to 1990. Khrushchev included Crimea in the Ukrainian SSR, part of the USSR. or are you saying that California or Idaho is not the USA?
    and even after that, 90% of the Crimean population remained Russian, not Ukrainian, and in 2014 voted to join Russia.

    “Steve Balestrieri should remember half the truth is still a lie!”
    Tell me, do you have the courage to take this phrase to yourself?

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