It's not just Merkel: Germany will never sell lethal weapons to Ukraine

Kiev still hopes that Olaf Scholz's new German government will lift the ban on the supplies of weapons to Ukraine. Well, while thee is life, there is hope.

Merkel accused of personal animosity against Ukraine

Germany's Bild reported that Angela Merkel, when serving as the German Chancellor, personally blocked arms supplies to Ukraine. In early 2021, Ukraine paid for arms supplies via the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), the newspaper said.

However, in May, Germany and the Netherlands opposed the deal and prevented their partners from selling weapons. The Netherlands allegedly sided with Germany at Chancellor's request.

Kiev has accused Berlin of "personal enmity" before. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly stated that Germany had not provided any military assistance to Ukraine, although it could have done so. Kiev, according to the President of Ukraine, was interested in acquiring patrol boats, automatic weapons, radio communications and armored vehicles.

According to the German press, Ukraine's wish list included parts of the Sea Spear anti-ship missile, GDM-008 Millennium anti-aircraft guns and Sea Cat and Sea Fox unmanned mini-submarines for underwater reconnaissance and disposal of sea mines.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba called the refusal of the German government to supply weapons to Kiev as politically motivated decision. According to him, there was no legal prohibition in the legislation of the Federal Republic of Germany, which would outlaw decisions to either deliver or sell weapons to Ukraine.

However, this is not true to fact, and there are such restrictions.

What the German law on arms exports prohibits

Back in 2015, Angela Merkel said at a meeting with then US President Barack Obama that Germany would not be supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine. According to her, Germany is focused on a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis.

It was not а personal decision of the Chancellor. Germany has a law on the export of arms, which prohibits the sale of weapons to troubled countries. The EU also has such a law.

Usually, authorities do not track the final destination of arms supplies, nor do they control whether customers honor their obligations not to sell weapons to troubled third countries. Such importers of German weapons as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, who re-export them to Libya, Yemen or Syria, tend to conduct such activities.

According to international law, European countries can neither sell weapons to belligerent countries, nor can they let the weapons made in third countries pass through their territory. Of course, ships can unlikely be inspected for this purpose, but that is a different topic for discussion.

SPD and the Greens oppose arms supplies to Ukraine

Therefore, there is absolutely no reason to assume that the new German government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (coalition of SPD (Social Democratic Party), the Greens, FDP (Free Democratic Party)) will turn its back on the position of the previous government, as Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko requested.

"It is impossible that Germany does not approve a decision of the North Atlantic Alliance to supply defensive weapons to Ukraine! The new federal government should understand that assistance has never been so important to our country," Klitschko said.

Klitschko is probably unaware that in the position document from late 2019, Social Democrats called for export controls of not only small arms, but all arms exports in general. The SPD called on the federal government to provide regular reports to the parliament about such inspections, whether there was reexport to conflicting countries.

The leader of the SPD parliamentary faction, Rolf Mutzenich, has recently spoken, in all seriousness, about the spiral of threats and counter-threats with Russia, which must be broken.

Annalena Baerbock, an outspoken representative of the Green Party, who currently serves as the foreign minister, confirmed that her party was opposed to arms exports to war zones.

German weapons should not kill

Alexander Lurts, an expert on arms exports at Greenpeace, believes that the arms exports law of the Federal Republic of Germany should be toughened.

"One can find German weapons in every war that we consider. The current coalition has a chance to solve the problem. The first step would be a law on arms exports. It is not enough just to legislate what we already have. It should go hand in hand with tightening, and this will mean, among other things, a complete cessation of exports of weapons to third countries, that is, to countries outside the EU, NATO and countries equivalent to NATO," the politician said.

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
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Editor Dmitry Sudakov
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