“Prerequisites for Victory”

Rheinmetall will open an armored vehicle plant in western Ukraine within the next 12 weeks. Green Party MP calls for supplying cruise missiles, CDU politician speculates about Kaliningrad blockade.

BERLIN/KIEV (Own report) – The German arms company Rheinmetall will soon open an armored vehicle plant in Ukraine, the company’s CEO, Armin Papperger told US broadcaster CNN. Rheinmetall will open the plant in western Ukraine within the next 12 weeks, where it will build and repair the Fuchs armored personnel carrier in cooperation with Ukraine’s state-owned Ukroboronprom. According to German government sources, Chancellor Olaf Scholz will announce a new “very substantial” arms supply for Ukraine at the NATO summit beginning in Vilnius today. According to these sources, the German government will not yet deliver Taurus cruise missiles, which Kiev has already been demanding since some time. With a range of more than 500 kilometers, they could be launched deep into Russia. The US announcement of supplying Ukraine with cluster munitions is being met with comprehension by the German government. Roderich Kiesewetter, a CDU member of the German parliament suggests that, under certain conditions, “Kaliningrad could have its Russian supply lines cut.”

Armored Vehicle Plant in Ukraine

The German arms company Rheinmetall will soon open an armored vehicle plant in Ukraine, the company’s CEO, Armin Papperger told the US broadcaster CNN. The plant will already be opened within the next twelve weeks at an undisclosed location in western Ukraine. Rheinmetall will cooperate with Ukraine’s group UkrOboronProm, with which the German company also plans to manufacture ammunition and possibly even air defense systems (german-foreign-policy.com reported [1]). According to the CNN report, initially, German Fuchs armored personnel carriers will be built and repaired in the western Ukrainian plant and Rheinmetall will train Ukrainian workers accordingly.[2] In the long term, the production of other tanks will apparently also be possible at that plant. “[Ukrainians] have to help themselves — if they always have to wait [for] Europeans or Americans [to] help them over the next 10 or 20 years… that is not possible,” Papperger said. Rheinmetall’s CEO is confident that, just like other Ukrainian arms factories, the new plant could be protected from Russian air attacks.

Weapons Package for Kiev

In addition to Rheinmetall’s announcement, the German government promises more arms deliveries to Ukraine. According to government sources in Berlin yesterday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz will announce “very substantial” supplies during the NATO summit in Vilnius that begins today. Details have not yet been made public.[3] Berlin has already been boasting of being Ukraine’s second largest arms supplier, after the United States. According government data, the funds budgeted in 2023 for upgrading Ukraine’s armed forces “totaled around €5.4 billion” – “up from €2 billion in 2022,” plus “commitment appropriations for subsequent years totaling around €10.5 billion.”[4] During Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit in Berlin, Scholz had announced that Germany is allocating a new €2.7 billion military aid package to Ukraine, including an item Scholz did not publicly name: 15 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks. At the time, research revealed that these must be anti-aircraft tanks, which had been sold to the emirate of Qatar to protect the World Cup from possible drone attacks. At the time, however, Qatar persistently refused to provide them for use in Ukraine.[5]

Cruise Missiles

The German government has not yet agreed to meet Ukraine’s demand for a speedy delivery of Taurus cruise missiles. The Taurus has a range of more than 500 km and would therefore be capable, according to a military expert, of “attacking with high precision targets deep behind enemy lines.”[6] Moreover, “thanks to its multi-effect warhead” it would be able to “combat previously invulnerable, well-protected targets,” and even effectively destroy “heavily armored underground bunker targets.” “Cruise missile systems, such as the Taurus,” the author further explains, would have “the potential of fundamentally altering the combat dynamics on the battlefield and create the prerequisites for victory.” The only problem is that currently there are not enough of them available, which is why “a missile alliance in Europe” should be forged – together with Great Britain, which, with its Storm Shadow, has already delivered guided missiles with a range of more than 500 km. The Green Party politician Anton Hofreiter is currently advocating the rapid delivery of the Taurus.[7] “If the British deliver cruise missiles,” declared Hofreiter, “I see no reason why Germany can’t do the same.”

Cluster Munition

The announcement of new arms deliveries including the call for making available new weapons systems – such as the Taurus –to the Ukrainian military, are coming at a time when Ukraine’s announced counter offensive is still stalled and even US President Joe Biden is openly admitting that munition is running low. Biden is using this as an excuse to legitimize supplying cluster munition, which 111 nations have condemned in the Oslo Agreement. An additional twelve nations have signed the agreement, however have not yet ratified it, along with three-dozen states that in 2020, voted in favor of a UN declaration bearing the essence of the Oslo Agreement.[8] Washington now claims it will only deliver cluster munition with a low dud rate – less than 2.35 percent. Besides Kiev has already promised to use these weapons only where there is no danger to civilians. However, initial research by US media has shown that these claims are untrue. According to the New York Times, the cluster munitions that Ukraine has received, are known to have a failure rate of 14 percent or more.[9] Mine-clearance personnel report that the actual dud rate by far exceeds the official failure rates.

“Block Kaliningrad”

The German government has announced its full agreement with the US’ announcement of sending cluster munition. “We are certain that our US friends did not make their decision lightly, to deliver this sort of munition,” a government spokesperson in Berlin declared.[10] Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also repels criticism: “In the current situation, one should not obstruct the USA.”[11] The propensity to throw off all inhibitions, is gradually becoming popular in the war against Russia. Yesterday, CDU foreign and military policy expert, Roderich Kiesewetter suggested to the Green Party-affiliated daily “taz,” not only that Ukraine be given “guarantees, and if necessary, even provided with nuclear assistance, as an intermediary step to NATO membership.” For special cases, such as the destruction of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, it should be considered “cutting Russian supply lines to Kaliningrad.”[12] In late 2022, the Green Party parliamentarian Anton Hofreiter, had suggested considering cutting food supply lines in the power struggle against China. In response to the question, how Berlin could respond, should the People’s Republic impose an embargo on rare earth, Hofreiter replied, “if a country would deprive us of rare earth, we could counter with: ‘What do you want to eat?’”[13] China depends on imports for food supplies.


[1] See also Eine rüstungsindustrielle Basis für die Ukraine.

[2] Frederik Pleitgen, Anna Cooban: Rheinmetall will build and repair tanks in Ukraine, says CEO. edition.cnn.com 10.07.2023.

[3] Berlin will Ukraine „substanzielles” Waffen-Paket liefern. n-tv.de 10.07.2023.

[4] Liste der militärischen Unterstützungsleistungen. bundesregierung.de 07.07.2023.

[5] Georg Ismar, Paul-Anton Krüger: Das „Gepard”-Rätsel. Süddeutsche Zeitung 19.05.2023.

[6] Fabian Hoffmann: Warum Deutschland Taurus-Marschflugkörper liefern sollte. tagesspiegel.de 06.06.2023.

[7] Grünen-Politiker Hofreiter gegen Streumunition für Ukraine. sueddeutsche.de 08.07.2023.

[8] Weltweite Ächtung von Streumunition. auswaertiges-amt.de 15.07.2021.

[9] John Ismay: Cluster Weapons U.S. Is Sending Ukraine Often Fail to Detonate. nytimes.com 07.07.2023.

[10] Bundesregierung zeigt Verständnis für Streumunition-Lieferung. rnd.de 07.07.2023.

[11] Kristina Hofmann: Streubomben: „USA nicht in den Arm fallen”. zdf.de 09.07.2023.

[12] Tanja Tricarico: „Deutschland ist Kriegsziel”. taz.de 10.07.2023.

[13] Moritz Eichhorn: Anton Hofreiter: Entweder Nato-Mitgliedschaft für Ukraine oder 3200 Leopard-Panzer. berliner-zeitung.de 15.12.2022. See also Die Hungermacher (III).