Berlin (dpa) – In response to the war in Ukraine, the Federal Government wants to increase its arms aid to partner countries to two billion euros this year.
“The funds will greatly benefit Ukraine,” Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Twitter late Friday. “The Federal Chancellor had requested this at an early stage.” The sum must be made available through the supplementary budget.
A government spokeswoman said relevant departments had already agreed two weeks ago in principle to substantially increase funds for the so-called upgrading initiative. Last week, the sum was set at a total of two billion euros.
support partner countries
The federal government launched the upgrade initiative in 2016 to help partner countries in crisis regions to provide security themselves. The funds made available for this were used to support the armed forces, but also the police and civil protection. The first partner countries were Iraq, Jordan, Tunisia, Mali and Nigeria, followed by Burkina Faso and Niger in 2018. According to the Ministry of Defense, 350 projects have been funded to the tune of 600 million dollars. euros at the end of 2021.
Now the pot has to be increased considerably because of the war in Ukraine. The two billion euros include almost 400 million euros, with which Germany contributes to the EU pot for arms aid, which has now been increased to 1.5 billion euros. This money is also largely destined for Ukraine. In addition, several hundred million euros in arms aid for other countries will probably continue to be granted from the two billion pot.
Shortly after the start of the war, the German government decided to support Ukraine with arms deliveries. So far, among other things, bazookas, anti-aircraft missiles, machine guns, but also vehicles, night vision devices and protective equipment have been delivered.
Ukraine demands delivery of heavy weapons
In view of the expected large-scale offensive in the east of the country, Ukraine is also demanding the delivery of heavy weapons from the federal government. “I hope that Scholz will take a positive decision,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Thursday evening on the ARD “Tagesthemen”.
However, the federal government has not yet made a decision on this. The formation of the two billion pot doesn’t say anything about that either. Greens and FDP are in favor of the supply of heavy weapons, the SPD is divided. Scholz hasn’t decided yet. He stressed that the decision will be taken in consultation with the alliance partners.
CDU leader Friedrich Merz strongly criticized Scholz (SPD) in the arms supply debate. “By his behavior he endangers the cohesion of the entire international community towards Russia,” Merz told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (Saturday). You don’t want to know the routes, transfer times and locations. “We want to know what is delivered and, above all, why the federal government does not want to deliver the available material.”
The deputy leader of the SPD parliamentary group, Achim Post, rejected these allegations. “Under the leadership of Olaf Scholz, Germany is firmly rooted in cooperation and partnership with our European and international partners. Everything else is political innuendo that has more to do with domestic political profiling than reality. foreign policy.”