“I need ammunition, not a trip,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday, rejecting the U.S. offer of aid to evacuate him from Ukraine. And his request was heard by the international community.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24 continues, several countries have pledged support by sending arms to the country, an unprecedented move.
On Saturday, the United States, Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands announced arms shipments to support Ukraine’s war effort against Russia. The U.S. State Department pledged to ship some $350 million in weapons, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft systems, and body armor. For its part, the German government said it would supply Ukraine with 1,000 anti-tank grenade launchers and 500 Stinger missiles in case of emergency.
The Netherlands announced the deployment of 50 Panzerfaust-3 anti-tank weapons and 400 rockets. In addition, the latter two countries consider sending a joint Patriot air defense system to a NATO battle group in Slovakia. NATO began deploying more forces to Eastern Europe “to respond rapidly to any contingency.”
Finally, Australia announced Sunday that it would fund the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine to help it fight Russian forces. But it offered no further details on that assistance.
Change of position
Germany’s announcement to send weapons to Ukraine is a significant historic shift in its military aid policy. Until Saturday, Germany had a long-standing practice of blocking the shipment of lethal weapons to conflict zones. However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Saturday that the Russian invasion of Ukraine marked a turning point.
“The Russian aggression against Ukraine marks a change of era. It threatens our entire post-war order. In this situation, we should support Ukraine to the best of our ability in the defense against Vladimir Putin’s invading army,” declared Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Germany’s three-party coalition government of Socialists, Liberals, and Greens faced challenges in formulating a coherent response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But those public figures who in the past expressed sympathy for Moscow have either remained silent or said they were wrong.
Meanwhile, Germans were shocked by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine and demanded that their government take stricter measures against the Kremlin.
“Our world is different after Putin’s war of aggression. But, while we are stunned by this violation of international law, we are not powerless,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock posted on Twitter.
“That is why we will help Ukrainian soldiers fighting for their country with anti-tank weapons and Stinger missiles,” she added. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Germany is one of the world’s leading arms producers and exporters, with sales up 21% between 2016 and 2020.
Its main customers were South Korea, Algeria, and Egypt, details the German agency Deutsche Welle. Ukraine also buys armaments from Germany.
In 2020 and through the first half of 2021, Germany approved 97 exports totaling US$5.8 million, according to government reports.
The Yucatan Times
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