Kuleba fears that Germany's refusal to provide weapons to Ukraine may affect relations between countries

24 January 2022, 12:24 PM

Ukraine is disappointed by Germany’s opposition to arming Ukraine, and fears this could sour relations between Kyiv and Berlin, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with German news outlet Welt am Sonntag on Jan. 23.

Ukraine suffered catastrophic losses during the Second World War, and the only appropriate response to the prospect of a new invasion of Ukraine by Russia is to “allow us to defend ourselves,” Kuleba said.

“Unfortunately, Ukrainians will remember this (refusal to sell arms to Ukraine) for decades to come, which, as the foreign minister, I find to be most regrettable… I want our partnership to flourish, for our peoples to treat one another with nothing but friendship and warmth; … We would be even more disappointed if, in addition to refusing to sell us defensive weaponry, Germany decides to prevent others from doing so.”

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While the minister acknowledges Berlin’s appeal to history in justifying its foreign policy, Kuleba said that Ukraine is not under any kind of weapons embargo, and never planned any kind of offensive military action.

“We’ve been under attack as a nation since 2014, all we want is the ability to defend ourselves and avert a large-scale conflict,” Kuleba said.

Earlier, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said that, despite the threat of a full-blown Russian invasion of Ukraine, Berlin has for the moment ruled out arming Kyiv, hoping to avoid doing anything that would further escalate the current military tensions caused by Russia. She added that Germany will provide Ukraine with a modern field hospital.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that Berlin supports Ukraine’s Armed Forces with medical aid and pharmaceuticals, but will stop short of sending Ukraine weapons.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz echoed that sentiment, stating that Germany will continue to oppose arming Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky indicated back in June 2021 that Ukraine was seekingw to purchase German defensive military equipment, such as patrol boats, rifles, field radios and armored personnel carriers.

In response, Heiko Maas, who was German foreign minister at the time, said that the conflict in eastern Ukraine “could only be resolved by political means,” and that “arms sales would do no good.”

According to German newspaper Bild, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel was opposed to NATO selling arms to Ukraine, and asked the Dutch to support the German position.

A former spokesperson for the German government, Steffen Seibert, said that Germany remains bound by its pledge to not supply conflict zones with weapons. However, despite this pledge, Germany has in recent years sold weapons to countries involved in conflicts in Yemen and Libya.

According to U.S. newspaper The Wall Street Journal, Germany vetoed the shipping of German-made weapons to Ukraine by Estonia, despite the threat of a full-blown Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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