Germany to send arms to Ukraine in policy shift

For weeks, Kiev has been begging Germany to send armaments to deal with a Russian invasion.

Ukraine’s wish list, seen by AFP, included mid-range anti-aircraft rocket systems, anti-drone guns, microwave kill systems and ammunition.

Berlin’s stubborn refusal so far to approve arms shipments, and a previous decision to send only 5,000 helmets, had drawn anger and mockery.

Hours before Germany’s key policy shift, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki became the latest leader to lash out at Berlin over its arms export stance as he arrived in Berlin for interviews with Scholz.

“Five thousand helmets? It must be some kind of joke. We need real help…weapons,” he said, stressing that Ukraine is not just fighting for itself.

“They are also fighting for us. For our freedom, our sovereignty. So that we are not next,” he said.

Morawiecki had also expressed frustration with Berlin for being slow to agree to “crushing” sanctions, including excluding Russia from the SWIFT system that banks rely on to transfer money.

Earlier this week, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner made clear the concern of Europe’s largest economy: suspending SWIFT “would mean that there is a high risk that Germany will no longer receive gas and raw materials from Russia”.

Lindner told state television he was “open” to including SWIFT “as part of any further toughening of sanctions”, while adding that allies “should be aware of the consequences”.

But with growing pressure from allies, Berlin said it was now working to exclude Russia of the system in a “targeted and functional” way.

“At the same time, we are working urgently to limit the collateral damage of an exclusion from SWIFT so that [the measure] affects the right people,” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a joint statement.

“What we need is a targeted and functional limitation of SWIFT,” they added.

Russia news

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