Angela Merkel ‘blocked US from arming Ukraine against Russia’

Germany uses veto to block weapons shipments from Nato allies, amid fears they could provide a pretext for Russian aggression

By Justin Huggler. BERLIN. 14. December. 2021

Service members of the Ukrainian armed forces drive tanks towards a pontoon bridge before crossing the Aidar River during military drills near Novoaidar in the Luhansk region, Ukraine, December 14, 2021. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko
Members of the Ukrainian army drive camouflaged tanks during drills in the country’s eastern Luhansk regionCREDIT: OLEKSANDR KLYMENKO /REUTERS

Angela Merkel blocked the US from selling arms to Ukraine to defend itself against a possible Russian invasion, it has emerged.

Details published in the German media appear to confirm Ukrainian claims that Mrs Merkel’s government effectively vetoed Nato allies from supplying weapons to Kyiv.

Under the former chancellor, Germany twice intervened to stop the US and Lithuania from delivering weapons that Ukraine had already paid for through a Nato procurement scheme. 

Ukraine is racing to upgrade its military capabilities amid US warnings a Russian invasion may be imminent, and has turned to bilateral deals with allies including the UK as it seeks to get around the German veto on any sales through Nato.

Mrs Merkel’s government continued to block the US from supplying rifles until she stood down as chancellor last week, according to details published by Bild newspaper.

“They are still building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and at the same time blocking our defensive weapons. It is very unfair,” Oleksii Reznikov, the new Ukrainian defence minister, told the Financial Times at the weekend.

TOPSHOT - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukraine's new President Volodymyr Zelensky address a press conference with Ukraine's new President on his first official visit to Germany on June 18, 2019 at the Chancellery in Berlin. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images
Angela Merkel with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine CREDIT: TOBIAS SCHWARZ /AFP

The new German government under Olaf Scholz has yet to comment on the reports and it is unclear whether it intends to continue the policy.

Annalena Baerbock, the new German foreign minister, has already said the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline will not be allowed to go ahead if there is any Russian “escalation” over Ukraine.

Germany had a longstanding and publicly declared policy of blocking sales to Ukraine by its own arms industry under Mrs Merkel, over concerns they could inflame tensions or provide a pretext for Russian aggression.

But it now appears the former chancellor’s government went further, actively blocking its Nato allies from supplying Kyiv with weapons.

The shipments in question were Barrett M82 precision rifles from the US and EDM4S-UA anti-drone rifles from Lithuania. 

They had been ordered and paid for through Nato’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), the main logistics agency for Nato members.

As it is a Nato agency, all members of the alliance have an effective veto on deliveries to third countries.

Ukraine's Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov during a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden December 14, 2021. Christine Olsson/TT News Agency via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN.
Oleksii Reznikov, the Ukrainian defence minister CREDIT: TT NEWS AGENCY /via REUTERS

Germany and the Netherlands both acted to block the delivery of the American rifles in May, but the move was instigated by Mrs Merkel’s government, according to Bild.

“The fact that the Netherlands stood on the side of Germany against the rest of Nato happened on instructions from Berlin,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed insider as saying.

The report also claimed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine personally pleaded with Mrs Merkel to drop the veto when she visited Kiev in August, but she rebuffed him.

Germany eventually dropped its veto on the Lithuanian anti-drone systems in Mrs Merkel’s final days as chancellor, but it continues to block the delivery of rifles from the US.

There are indications Mr Scholz’s new governmen  may take a different stance.

Robert Habeck, the vice-chancellor and business minister, has openly called for Germany to end its blockade on arms sales to Ukraine in the past.

vGerman Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck addresses the media after the handover of the office at the Economy Ministry in Berlin, Wednesday Dec. 8, 2021. (Odd Andersen/Pool via AP)
Robert Habeck, the German vice-chancellor and business minister CREDIT: Odd Andersen/AFP Pool

“In my opinion, weapons for self-defence and can hardly be denied to Ukraine,” Mr Habeck said in May.

“Ukraine is not only fighting for itself here, it is also defending Europe’s security. Ukraine feels abandoned in terms of security policy, and it is abandoned.”

The comments were particularly striking as Mr Habeck is a leader of the German Green Party, which has traditionally opposed all arms sales.

He was in opposition at the time he made the comments, but as business minister he now has control of approving or rejecting weapons exports.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin accused the European Union of “hysteria” on Tuesday over new sanctions against Wagner,a Russian private security company.

EU foreign ministers agreed new sanctions on Monday against the company, which is accused of working to destabilise Ukraine and African countries.

The Russian foreign ministry said Moscow may respond to the “unfriendly” move.

7 comments

  1. OK so Germany blocked these sales through NATO. What was there to stop the US from selling these weapons directly to Ukraine, or even giving them to Ukraine? If the US can support and leave behind billions of dollars in weapons in Afghanistan, they could quite easily send arms to Ukraine, and have no country blocking the sales.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. This is not Merkel’s first disgusting behavior in preventing Ukraine from defending itself against mafia aggression. I can’t say enough how good it is that this fat nasty smelly cunt is finally gone, albeit ten years too late.

    Liked by 3 people

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