German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has decided to resign from her post, German newspaper Bild reported on Jan. 13, citing several sources. The decision comes mere days before Berlin is expected to announce a greenlight on shipments of Leopard-2 main battle tanks to Ukraine.
According to the report, Lambrecht decided to step down out of her own accord, and was not pressured to do so by the federal government. Her successor is expected to be picked and announced soon.
The resignation was preceded by a series of scandals, Bild writes. Shortly after taking office in December 2021, the minister admitted that she didn’t know the ranks of the Bundeswehr, and five months later said that she still had not learned them.
Lambrecht was also criticized for slow pace of German military aid to Ukraine and for Puma IFVs proving to be unreliable during recent Bundeswehr exercises.
In late December 2022, the minister was criticized for an Instagram New Year's address, in which she said the war in Ukraine allowed her to meet interesting people, while fireworks were blasting in the background.
On Jan. 13, Bloomberg reported that Germany will announce its plans to finally make Leopard-2 tanks available to Ukraine at the upcoming Jan. 20 Ramstein meeting, where defense ministers of Ukraine’s international partners will discuss ongoing and future efforts to aid Kyiv in repelling the Russian invasion.
Polish President Andrzej Duda announced on Jan. 11 that Warsaw would send a company of Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of an international coalition – the number was not directly specified, but a Polish tank company usually includes 14 vehicles.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö also confirmed that his country might transfer a “small number” of Leopard tanks to Ukraine.