Germany to provide medical help to Ukraine – but no weapons
German defence minister says the government will do everything in its power to de-escalate the crisis with Russia but arms transfers to Ukraine are not an option.
Germany plans to send a field medical facility to Ukraine next month but it continues to refuse the transfer of weapons despite fears of a Russian invasion.
In February, “a complete field hospital will be handed over, including the necessary training, all co-financed by Germany to the tune of 5.3 million euros [$6bn]”, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht told Sunday’s edition of the newspaper Die Welt.
Germany has already supplied respirators and treated seriously wounded Ukrainian soldiers at its military hospitals for years, the minister said.
Lambrecht said the German government will do everything in its power to de-escalate the crisis with Russia, however, arms transfers to Ukraine were not an option.
“Weapons deliveries would not be helpful at the moment – that is the consensus in the federal government,” she said.
‘An immediate rethink’
Ukraine again asked for German defence aid, saying it “urgently needs 100,000 helmets and protective vests for the volunteers who are just signing up for the military to defend their homeland together with the armed forces”, Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk told the Handelsblatt newspaper on Saturday.
“The seriousness of the situation demands an immediate rethink and change of course from the [German coalition] government on the issue of arms deliveries to Ukraine,” Melnyk was quoted as saying.
Kyiv will “not rest in convincing the German government and the opposition to deliver defensive weapons to Ukraine”, he added.
Meanwhile, the first shipment of the US’s $200m security support package for Ukraine arrived in Kyiv on Saturday, the US embassy said.
The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will send US-made anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine.
Russia last week described Western arms supplies to Ukraine as extremely dangerous, adding the move would do nothing to reduce tensions.