Inhabitants of the eastern and western lands of Germany have different attitudes towards supplying Kyiv with weapons
Germany is providing additional support to the Ukrainian forces by supplying tanks. This move comes amid reports of permission to sell howitzers for the Kyiv army.
The German Ministry of Defense has decided to send 16 Biber bridge-laying tanks to Ukrainian forces, the ministry said on Friday.
“Biber will allow Ukrainian troops to cross water barriers or obstacles in battle,” the German defense ministry said in a statement. – Delivery of the first six systems will take place this year, starting in autumn. Ten more systems will appear next year.”
As The Guardian explains, Biber tanks are armored support vehicles equipped with a bridging system that can be used to help troops cross streams, ditches or other obstacles on the battlefield.
The announcement of the tanks being sent to Ukraine was taken a few days after it became known that Germany had given the green light to the request of the defense company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann to produce 100 Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers for the Ukrainian army.
While the Economics Ministry's legal move does not yet constitute a sale of howitzers, it was nonetheless seen as a significant increase in Germany's long-term support for Ukraine's war effort.
Following initial reports in Der Spiegel, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann confirmed that Kyiv ordered 100 howitzers from the company for a total of 1.7 billion euros, and that the German Ministry of Economics gave the necessary permission on July 13.
Germany has already sent nine Panzerhaubitze 2000 artillery systems to Ukraine from the warehouses of its own army, which have been put into operation in the conflict zone since the end of June.
In May, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht allowed the delivery of 15 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks with about 60 thousand rounds of ammunition. A Social Democrat politician said this week that five of these tanks have already arrived in Ukraine.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a historic departure from Germany's pacifist stance on military spending in a February 27 speech, but faced criticism for not backing up the rhetoric with technology.
While public support for sending arms to Ukraine in Germany remains stable despite growing concerns about the gas crisis, opinions in the west of the country and in the eastern states differ significantly.
While 54-61% of respondents in a regular Forsa poll favored military support Kyiv since early May, only 32% of respondents in the east said in a poll this week that giving Ukraine heavy weapons was the right thing to do.
At a public dialogue in the southern city of Bayreuth Thursday night, Economics Minister Robert Habeck was booed by a group protesters holding placards with the word Kriegstreiber (“warmonger”). The “green” politician, who spoke out in support of sending weapons to Ukraine even before Russia launched a special operation, said that the majority of the German population was “resolute and united” in their position and that Russian “imperialism” would not stop in Ukraine.