Weaponry for Ukraine

Berlin is under mounting pressure to authorize arms deliveries to Kiev. NATO countries have been systematically arming Ukraine for years.

BERLIN/KIEV | | ukraine

BERLIN/KIEV (Own report) - Pressure is mounting on the German government to authorize arms deliveries to Ukraine. This is prompted by the fact that Berlin vetoed the supply of US-made sniper rifles to Ukraine via the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). The Ukrainian armed forces are already being upgraded by NATO and its member states. So far, the USA has provided military aid worth more than US $2.5 billion, including the delivery of hundreds of Javelin anti-tank missiles. Poland and the Czech Republic have delivered dozens of second-hand armored personnel carriers, Turkey is supplying Kiev with its infamous Bayraktar TB2 drones. Great Britain, in turn, has begun to upgrade Ukraine's naval forces and wants to help Ukraine acquire new warships and construct new naval bases. Via the NSPA, NATO will supply Kiev with an anti-drone system - with Berlin's explicit support. Kiev is demanding more and accuses Berlin of "blocking" further arms deliveries.

Night Vision Equipment, Anti-Tank Missiles

Since Ukraine established strong ties to the West in the aftermath of the 2014 putsch, there have been repeated arms deliveries and other military support from divers NATO countries. The USA has played a prominent role. Since 2014, Washington has provided Kiev with more than US $2.5 billion worth of military aid. Initially, it was mainly in the form of "non-lethal" equipment, according to information provided by the Congressional Research Service in Washington, including helmets, night vision equipment, defensive radars and uniforms.[1] In July, 2016, 24 AeroVironment RQ-11B Raven surveillance drones were added to the list.[2] In 2017, the United States also began supplying equipment against drones and for electronic warfare, in 2018, Javelin anti-tank missiles - initially 360 units, and in September 2021, made a new commitment for US $60 million worth of Javelin missiles and other equipment. Since 2015, the US military, along with soldiers from other allied nations, including Great Britain, have been providing advanced training for Ukrainian troops. Just recently, Washington added to its usual military budget bill an additional US $300 million for weaponry for Ukraine.

Armored Personnel Carriers, Combat Drones

European countries are also participating in Ukraine's arms buildup. As was reported by the Bonn International Center for Conversion (bicc) the Czech Republic had delivered 56 second-hand self-propelled guns and 50 second-hand BMP-1 armored personnel carriers, to become Kiev's top-ranking supplier of heavy weapons systems in the years from 2016-2020.[3] Between 2018 and 2020, Ukraine received 37 BMP-1 armored personnel carriers from neighboring Poland along with 54 MT-LB armored personnel carriers and 100 Warmate guided missiles. Kiev has ordered twelve second-hand EC72 Super Cougar transport helicopters from France, at least three have already been delivered. Since some time, Turkey has been providing particularly Bayraktar TB2 drones, a weapon that recently played decisive roles in the wars in Libya and Azerbaijan. Officially, Ukraine has received 12 Bayraktar TB2 drones, since 2019. However, observers believe the actual number of drones delivered to be significantly higher.[4]

An Arms Buildup Program for the Fleet

In the meantime, the UK is particularly taking care of arming the Ukrainian Navy. Ukraine had already received second hand patrol boats from the USA - two in 2018, two more in November 2021. Twenty new patrol boats have been ordered at the OCEA shipyard in France; five are to be assembled in Mykolaiv Ukraine. In June, London concluded a more comprehensive agreement with Kiev that included not only cooperation in the procurement of new warships for the Ukrainian Navy. The UK will also support Kiev in the training of Ukrainian Navy personnel and in the construction of new naval bases.[5] Specifically, this pertains to plans for the construction of a naval base in Berdiansk, in which other European countries and the United States will participate, the joint production of fast missile warships and the delivery of a modern frigate. These measures are aimed at aiding the Ukrainian government to meet its plans to build a new naval fleet by 2035.[6]

NATO Integration

In addition, NATO, or the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) - which until now had been mainly dealing with wounded Ukrainian soldiers, and supporting Kiev with medical equipment - is now also providing weaponry. The NSPA is currently providing the Ukrainian military with a Lithuania-produced anti-drone system that uses jamming to disturb the piloting of drones.[7] The delivery commitment comes at a time, when Kiev is becoming increasingly integrated into NATO, even without formal membership. For example, NATO has intensified its cooperation with Ukraine in military logistics and communication, as well as in cyber warfare. Ukrainian ministers are also allowed to attend NATO meetings, for example Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba attended phases of NATO's most recent foreign ministers meeting, early this month. The delivery of US-made sniper rifles was also planned via NSPA. However, it had to be postponed, according to reports, due to the veto of Germany and that of a second NATO country.[8]

"Defensive Weapons"

That veto has now sparked a massive campaign driven by the Kiev government and strongly transatlantic-oriented forces in Germany. They are demanding that Germany deliver weaponry to Ukraine. Already in late May, the Chair of Germany's Green Party at the time, Robert Habeck - currently Germany's Minister of the Economy - had declared that he would like to see "defensive weapons" delivered to Ukraine's armed forces.[9] Kiev is now upping the ante. Last weekend, Ukraine's Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov complained that Berlin "was blocking ... our access to defensive weapons," that is "unfair."[10] Now Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has declared that Berlin has "prevented" his country from "receiving deliveries of weapons systems for defense" - this is unacceptable. Kiev's mayor, Vitali Klitschko is also insisting on receiving "military support." In Germany, transatlantic-oriented commentators have begun accusing the German government of "refusal to provide assistance" - because of it is "refusing to provide Ukraine defensive weapons."[11] Pressure to continue arming Kiev is mounting.

 

[1] Ukraine: Background, Conflict with Russia, and U.S. Policy. Congressional Research Service. Washington, 05.10.2021.

[2], [3] bicc Länderinformation: Ukraine. Bonn, Juli 2021.

[4] Tomas Avenarius: Warum die Türkei Waffen an Kiew verkauft. sueddeutsche.de 07.12.2021.

[5] UK signs agreement to support enhancement of Ukrainian naval capabilities. gov.uk 23.06.2021.

[6] Ajsa Habibic: UK signs deal to back Ukrainian navy. navaltoday.com 17.11.2021.

[7],[8] NATO genehmigt Drohnenabwehrsystem. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 14.12.2021.

[9] See also Die Eisbrecher.

[10] Selenskyj wirft Deutschland Blockade von Waffenlieferungen vor. faz.net 14.12.2021.

[11] Reinhard Veser: Unterlassene Hilfeleistung. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 14.12.2021.