(CNN) – Germany has agreed to deliver anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine, the German Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday, in a move that underscores a major shift in its approach to military aid to Ukraine.
Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced her commitment to the delivery of Gibbard anti-aircraft systems during a meeting of international defense officials at the U.S. Air Force Base in Ramstein in Germany on Tuesday.
“Yesterday we decided to support Ukraine with anti-aircraft systems … which is exactly what Ukraine needs now to secure its airspace from the ground,” Lambrecht said during the meeting at the base.
This is an important fact, because it is the first time that Germany has agreed to supply Ukraine with this type of heavy weapons in its fight against the Russian invasion. Germany has withdrawn Gepard systems from active service as of 2010.
Germany initially resisted calls to send weapons to Kyiv, limiting itself to providing humanitarian aid and medical equipment. This approach was consistent with Germany’s decades-long policy of not supplying lethal weapons to conflict areas.
Just a few months before Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, the then new German government included a policy of arms export restrictions in its coalition agreement.
But under pressure from the Allies and German public opinion, the government was forced to See the rules.
At the end of February, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Germany would begin to deliver some weapons to Ukraine, although at that time he insisted on describing them as “defensive”.
He also announced that Germany would begin to increase investment in its armed forces.
The first such investment was publicly confirmed last month, when Germany announced the purchase of 35 US-made F-35A combat aircraft.
Last week, German Foreign Minister Annallina Barbock said that while “other partners are now providing artillery” to Ukraine, Germany will “help with training and maintenance.”
Barbock said that Germany Can’t provide more weapons Since the country does not have weapons, it can “deliver them at this time quickly and without delay.”
He added that Germany had decided not to disclose all the weapons it had previously sent to Ukraine, but said: “We have supplied Stingers anti-tank weapons. [sistemas de defensa aérea] And many other weapons that we haven’t talked about publicly.”
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