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Berlin will decide whether to approve the export of heavy weapons to Ukraine | War in Ukraine

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Reuters agency reported on Monday, on the basis of a source in the defense sector, that Rheinmetall had applied for permission to export these vehicles to Ukraine, confirming information from the daily Welt am Sonntag.

The company, however, reportedly plans to restore the vehicles in the coming months before shipping them to Ukraine, according to Reuters.

Rheinmetall has also requested permission to export 88 old Leopard 1A5 tanks, the German daily reported. Die Welt.

The company declined to comment while a German government spokesman said a decision would be soon taken on this.

The request requires the approval of the National Security Council, chaired by the head of government, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, which will thus be called upon to clarify its position on the delivery of heavy weapons to the Ukrainian forces.

Mr. Scholz is widely criticized, in Germany and abroad, for his reluctance to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine to help counter the Russian offensive.

In comparison, several other member countries of theNorth Atlantic Treaty Organizationsuch as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, have already begun to deliver this type of weapon or have committed to do so.

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Ukraine has increasingly insisted on Western countries supplying it with heavy weapons since the Russian army shifted its military strategy towards conquering the Donbass region in the east of the country.

Due to its geography, this territory is considered more suitable for tank combat than in areas closer to the capital.

The Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung a further reported that Switzerland had rejected two requests from Germany to re-export Swiss-made ammunition to Kyiv, on behalf of the neutrality of the country and the War Material Act, which restricts the export of military material to conflict zones.

The outlet does not specify whether the requests were related to Marder vehicles, but according to the washington postthese infantry fighting vehicles, although manufactured in Germany, use Swiss ammunition.

A major turnaround

Volodymyr Zelensky and Olaf Scholz standing in front of Ukrainian, European Union and German flags.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (left) with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (archives).

Photo: Getty Images/Alexandra Beier

Unlike several countries, Germany did not supply arms to Ukraine before the invasion of Russia on February 24, even preventing other countries from sending military equipment of German origin, in due to a long-standing policy attributable to its past.

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Since the Second World War, the country’s official position has been not to export arms to war zones.

Shortly after the start of the Russian offensive, however, it began to authorize weapons presented as defensive, thus effecting a major political reversal.

Last week, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced that Kyiv would “in the coming days” receive heavy weapons, including battle tanks and armored vehicles, from Eastern European partners.

Olaf Scholz then undertook to help the Eastern European allies who would deliver Soviet-made armaments to kyiv by replacing the equipment they would provide.

Minister Lambrecht also confirmed last week that Germany would train Ukrainian soldiers to use Panzerhaubitze 2000-type armored howitzers.

Germany, however, said it was unable to draw more on the reserves of the Bundeswehr – the German army – otherwise it could no longer ensure nor its commitments to theNorth Atlantic Treaty Organization nor the defense of its own territory.

The country has not only been the target of criticism for its reluctance to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine, but also for its refusal to impose an embargo on Russian gas, on which it is very dependent.

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