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Germany eyeing Indian artillery stocks to arm Ukraine – Der Spiegel

Kiev has been sounding the alarm over ammunition shortages amid a halt in US shipments caused by a congressional impasse

Germany is considering approaching India and Arab nations to source additional artillery shells for Ukraine, Der Spiegel has claimed. The media outlet alleged that Western intelligence chiefs recently warned that Kiev’s defenses could collapse unless its ammunition shortages are addressed quickly.

The US, Ukraine’s primary donor, has not provided any defense aid in over a month as Congress has failed to give the green light to new allocations. Since last fall, House Republicans have been blocking President Joe Biden’s foreign aid bill that envisages $60 billion in military assistance for Kiev. Lawmakers insist they will only relent if the White House agrees to tighten US border controls and takes measures to stem the flow of illegal migrants from Mexico.  

Against this backdrop, Ukrainian forces retreated earlier this month from the town of Avdeevka, a key stronghold in Donbass.  

Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that a top German military commander overseeing the procurement of weapons for Ukraine, General Christian Freuding, convenes biweekly closed-door meetings with national diplomats, chancellery staffers and other officials. Topping their agenda is the question of whether countries may still have considerable stocks of artillery shells, and whether they could be enticed to share some of them, the media outlet claimed. There is even a “promise of discretion” if a nation prefers to remain “neutral” on the Ukraine issue, it added.

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German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks to the media ahead of a Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting in Brussels, on February 19, 2024.
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Der Spiegel quoted Freuding as confirming to the German parliament last week that Berlin is “trying to purchase ammunition from all over the world,” with special emphasis on 155mm NATO-standard rounds.

According to the article, Germany has been eyeing India as a potential partner, with some estimates indicating that New Delhi could have hundreds of thousands of shells. Given that India maintains close relations with Russia, any potential deal could only be conducted in secrecy and with the help of intermediaries, Der Spiegel claimed. As such, “discreet negotiations” are underway to determine if this ammunition could be offered through intermediaries.

Similar arrangements could potentially be secured with unnamed Arab nations, the report suggested, adding that some Balkan and African states may also have stockpiles of the ammunition in question, or be able to produce it.

Meanwhile, the heads of leading Western intelligence agencies warned during a meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference earlier this month that Ukraine might lose the ability to hold the front line by June, the media outlet reported. To prevent such a scenario, the West needs to quickly supply Kiev with artillery rounds, the top spies are said to have concluded.

February 26, 2024 at 09:18PM
RT

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