(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pushed back against accusations that his government hasn’t done enough to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
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Scholz, speaking in his first wide-ranging press conference with the foreign media, said on Wednesday that claims Germany was falling behind on its promise to deliver heavy weapons to Kyiv weren’t true.
“If you look at what the US, France or the UK are doing, you will see that they are doing exactly the same thing,” Scholz said. “We are moving ahead in unison with the other allies.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Germany reversed a long-standing policy of not sending arms to conflict zones. Scholz’s ruling coalition agreed to supply the government in Kyiv with weapons including anti-tank rocket launchers, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, Strela surface-to-air missiles, anti-tank mines, machine guns, hand grenades and ammunition.
Amid intense pressure to do more and match shipments of heavier weapons organized by some allies, Scholz’s government also agreed to send seven self-propelled, armored howitzers, 50 Gepard anti-aircraft armored vehicles and several multiple launch rocket systems.
However, apparent delivery delays prompted Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to direct more sharp criticism at Germany as recently as last week. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has justified the delay of weapons deliveries by saying that Ukrainian soldiers need 40 days of training to use the howitzers, while the vehicles aren’t yet in condition to be sent.
Germany is also working with several eastern European countries, including the Czech Republic, on swap deals under which those states send Soviet-era equipment to Ukraine. Germany then pays for the delivery of modern replacement tanks.
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