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Germany breaks a taboo by delivering arms to Ukraine | War in Ukraine


The arms decision is a major political reversal for this country, whose official position since the Second World War has been not to supply arms lethal in conflict areas. There were, however, exceptions that generated controversy.

Berlin has authorized the delivery to Kiev of 1,000 anti-tank rocket launchers, 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles and 9 howitzers, the government announced.

Russian aggression against Ukraine marks a change of era, it threatens the order established since the post-war periodjustified Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a press release.

In this situation, it is our duty to help Ukraine as much as we can to defend against Vladimir Putin’s invading army. »

A quote from Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor

Concretely, deliveries of rocket launchers will be made by the Netherlands, and those of howitzers, by Estonia. These two countries had originally acquired this equipment from Germany and needed the green light from Berlin to be able to re-export it to Kiev.

The howitzers are old: they once belonged to the army of communist East Germany.

Soldiers armed with anti-tank rocket launchers.

Anti-tank rocket launchers deployed during military training by the German army.

Photo: Getty Images/Sean Gallup

Berlin is thus responding to the vehement criticism it has been the subject of for several weeks for its refusal to export such weapons, coming both from the Ukrainian authorities but also from partners of theEuropean Union such as the Baltic States or Poland.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded by calling on Olaf Scholz to continue like this in the anti-war coalition.

Bank leverage

The restrictive policy followed by the first European economy since the post-war period in terms of arms exports has its source in the horrors of Nazism which gave birth to a pacifism deeply rooted in public opinion.

This position was, however, less and less tenable politically since the outbreak of the invasion of the country by the Russian army.

At the same time, the German government announced the shipment to Ukraine of 14 armored vehicles as well as 10,000 tons of fuel via Poland. Other support measures are currently being studiedunderlined the government source.

After Russia’s shameful attack, Ukraine must defend itselfsaid Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

Another taboo broken on Saturday: the government began to give in on SWIFT, after having long refused to consider excluding Moscow from this key cog in global finance, for fear of being penalized in return for its deliveries of gas, oil and Russian coal.

Annalena Baerbock and her Economics counterpart, Robert Habeck, said in a joint statement that they were working on targeted and functional limitation of SWIFT for Russian financial institutions.

We are working on how to limit the collateral damage of a disconnection from SWIFTthey added.

In detail, the idea is to exclude from this electronic platform, through which a very large number of international transactions pass, the Russian banks already targeted by sanctions from the European Union.

These transactions represent 70% of the Russian banking market, according to theEuropean Union.

European pressure

On Saturday, before the announcement, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, visiting Berlin, had qualified concrete selfishness Germany’s attitude towards SWIFT.

In the midst of the battle for the takeover of Kiev, Volodymyr Zelensky also urged Berlin on Saturday to have the courage to block Russia’s access to SWIFT.

This platform allows interbank settlements between institutions around the world and, for example, prevents Germany from having to pay for its Russian gas in cash.

An exclusion is considered a atomic weapon in matters of finance. Indeed, disconnecting a State from SWIFT also means preventing its own banks from carrying out transactions with those of the punished country.

Several other European countries reluctant on the subject, such as Austria, Italy and Hungary, have also indicated that they are now ready to accept the sanction SWIFT.

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