Germany says weapons stocks depleted amid support for Ukraine

The discussion of German arms supplies to Ukraine has once again surfaced this week with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warning that Berlin’s weapons stocks are depleted. 

As Ukraine enters its sixth month of war with Russia, Baerbock on Wednesday said Germany is unable to do more in the way of sending immediate arms supplies to Ukraine.

"Unfortunately, the situation here is such that we have absolute deficits in our own stocks," she said in an interview with German public broadcasting station ZDF.

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Baerbock said that in order to provide Kyiv with the equipment and arms that Germany already had, its armaments industry had to "produce material specifically for Ukraine."

Germany faced criticism for its initial hesitancy to send defensive aid to Ukraine, notoriously sending 5,000 helmets in the lead up to the invasion and later halting arms deliveries in April when it said its reserves were maxed out.

German state leaders though overwhelming supported sending defensive aid to Ukraine and approved the shipment of "heavy weapons and complex machinery" to Kyiv later that month.

The foreign minister’s comments Wednesday came one day after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Berlin plans to ship nearly $500 million worth of arms to Ukraine in 2023. 

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The shipment is expected to include air defense systems, a dozen armored recovery vehicles, 20 pickup mounted rocket launchers, precision ammunition and anti-drone devices a spokesperson for the chancellor reportedly told DW. 

Scholz has openly condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and joined in on international sanctions to punish Moscow.

But his approach throughout the conflict has been met with some criticism at home and abroad.

His perceived attempts to stall equipment deliveries to Ukraine earlier this year and a May phone call between Scholz, Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron was met with skeptism by some and have lead to frustrations from international partners.

But German aid to Ukraine has accelerated in recent months with the delivery of 54 M113 armored personnel carriers, 15 self-propelled anti-aircraft guns GEPARD, 10 Howitzers, and a plethora of ammunitions along with non-lethal aid supplies, according to the German government. 

Since January 2022 Germany has provided Ukraine with over $685 million in arms supplies.

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