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Germany issues warning on Ukraine support

Finance minister stressed that expenses should be fairly split between EU members

Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner said the country can’t keep up Ukraine’s defense capabilities on its own in the long term and that others will need to ramp up their contributions. The issue has come to a head following a halt in US aid and Kiev’s increasing demands for arms following its failed counteroffensive.

“It cannot be that Germany does more to help Ukraine so that others do less,” Lindner said at an event by the German Eastern Business Association on Tuesday, urging other EU countries to share the costs.

Christian Lindner’s call comes amid reports that Germany’s economy shrank by 0.3% last year, according to data by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), which were published last week, increasing the risk of an economic contraction in the wider euro area. The country has been gripped by continued major protests which began in early January, when farmers started blocking roads and highways with tractors in a nationwide demonstration. Berlin announced the slashing of agricultural subsidies not long after it announced plans to almost double its support for Ukraine in 2024.

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Last week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany will shell out more than €7 billion ($7.6 billion) on military aid for Ukraine this year. He also called on the country’s “allies in the European Union to strengthen their efforts,” lamenting that some member states had been tight-fisted in their support of Ukraine.

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German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.
German defense chief against going ‘all in’ on Ukraine

The chancellor earlier said he was confident the bloc would agree to its proposed €50 billion aid package for Ukraine at an upcoming emergency summit on February 1. Berlin provided Kiev with nearly $23 billion in aid between February 2022 and November 2023, according to the Kiel Institute for World Economy (IfW), making Germany the second-largest contributor after the US.

Washington confirmed last week that its assistance had “ground to a halt” due to weeks of political bickering between Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Late last year, the Biden administration asked representatives to give the green light to more than $60 billion worth of weapons and military equipment for Kiev. However, the GOP has been blocking the package, demanding that President Biden and the Democrats first address the domestic issues and agree to their plan to tighten security at the border with Mexico.

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Lindner’s rhetoric echoes that of German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius who said last week that donating too many weapons to Kiev would weaken Berlin’s own forces. Pistorius warned that Berlin must also “keep an eye on its own defense capabilities” meaning that it can’t go “all in” for Ukraine as some are demanding. “Otherwise we would be defenseless ourselves,” he warned.

Since Kiev’s summer counteroffensive stalled with no major gains and heavy losses, top Ukrainian officials have increasingly been pressuring their Western backers for yet more weaponry. Russia has consistently criticized Western arms shipments to Ukraine, arguing that these prolong the bloodshed unnecessarily without changing the outcome of the conflict.


READ MORE: Germans told to prepare for another war with Russia

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January 24, 2024 at 01:09PM
RT

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