Berlin Gets New ‘Wish List’ Request for Arms From Kiev, Remains Dogged by ‘Pain in the A**’ Envoy
11:22 GMT 05.02.2022 (Updated: 13:25 GMT 05.02.2022)
© AP Photo / dpa, Arno Burgi,FileGerman soldier holds a Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle at a military training ground near Weisskeissel, Germany
© AP Photo / dpa, Arno Burgi,File
Ukrainian officials have spent weeks criticizing Berlin over its refusal to join other NATO allies in sending lethal arms "assistance" to Kiev. Western officials and media have claimed that Moscow is poised for an invasion of its neighbour, with one major US news agency erroneously announcing Friday that an invasion has already commenced.
Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the Defence Committee at the Bundestag, has called on Ukrainian officials to moderate their tone when demanding arms aid from Germany.
“I understand fully that Ukrainian officials in Kiev are on edge because of the threat posed by the Russian army. But I cannot understand the constant verbal attacks against us by some Ukrainian voices,” the official said, her remarks cited by Die Welt.
“In recent years, Germany has provided Ukraine with a great deal of help out of a sense of responsibility and friendship. In the heat of the emotional battle, Ukrainian representatives should not confuse friend and foe. A little moderation would be in order,” Strack-Zimmermann added.
Weapons ‘Wish List’
On Friday, Germany’s dpa news agency reported that Kiev had sent a “wish list” of weapons it wants from Germany, and reprimanded Berlin for “not providing [Ukraine] with the military support it needs in its stand-off with Russia.”
Ukraine has long complained that Germany is not providing it with the military support it needs in its stand-off with Russia. Now it has sent a wish list to Berlin.— dpa news agency (@dpa_intl) February 4, 2022
The arms desired by Kiev reportedly include medium-range anti-aircraft missile systems, portable anti-aircraft missile systems, anti-drone guns, microwave and electronic tracking systems, night vision devices, surveillance cameras, and ammunition, with all of the equipment listed as weapons “of a defensive nature” by Kiev.
On Thursday, Ukrainian ambassador to Berlin Andriy Melnyk told Suddeutsche Zeitung that Germany would face “consequences” if it didn’t deliver on the 15 kinds of equipment being sought by Kiev. Melnyk assured that “no tanks, no howitzers, no airplanes and no ships” were on the ‘Wunschliste’ (wish list), and stressed that the list itself served as a kind of “litmus test” of German-Ukrainian friendship. “When it comes to war or peace, the question is: are you with us or not?” he asked.
Melnyk previously criticized Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht over her announcement on the delivery of 5,000 combat helmets to Ukraine, calling the "assistance" a “drop in the bucket” and asking Germany to “show courage” by providing lethal arms.
‘Pain in the A**’ Diplomat
“The Ukrainian is considered a pain in the a**” by German politicians, according to Suddeutsche Zeitung, to the point where officials are doing their best to avoid meeting with him. “Melnyk has even complained to…chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Michael Roth, on Twitter about a lack of an appointment. Jens Plotner, the foreign policy advisor to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Andreas Michaelis, the state secretary for [Foreign Minister Annalena] Baerbock, have not had time for Melnyk so far. In the Foreign Office, Melnyk has been admonished. And in Kiev, so it is rumoured in Berlin, the ambassador’s undiplomatic conduct is not appreciated either,” the newspaper wrote.
Melnyk is well known in Berlin for his tactless outbursts. Last month, he attempted to guilt-trip the Germans into sending weapons, suggesting that Berlin has the same kind of obligation to help Ukraine today as it does to assist Israel due to Nazi war crimes. Last year, he warned NATO that Kiev could build a nuclear weapons arsenal if it was not allowed to join the Western alliance.
15 April 2021, 16:48 GMT
The ambassador is not the only one to issue Berlin with dire warnings over its ban on arms deliveries, with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announcing last month that Ukrainians would “remember” Germany’s “disappointing” refusal to approve arms deliveries “for decades to come.”
Germany has sent Ukraine nearly two billion euros-worth of assistance since the US and EU-backed coup in 2014 for development and military reform, but vetoed the delivery of anti-drone rifles and other equipment late last year amid escalating regional tensions.
Foreign Minister Baerbock is expected to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Kuleba in Kiev on Monday, and to visit the Donbass civil war zone on Tuesday. Chancellor Olaf Scholz plans to visit Kiev on 14 February. A day later, he wants to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Friday, Scholz spoke with his UK counterpart Boris Johnson, with the two leaders agreeing “on the importance of dialogue with Russia” and resolving “to use all diplomatic channels available to bring an end to the current tensions,” according to a Downing Street spokesperson.
4 February 2022, 16:01 GMT
Western officials and media have spent months accusing Russia of having designs to “invade” its neighbour using upwards of “100,000 troops” allegedly assembled on the border. Moscow has dismissed the claims and charged NATO with artificially pumping up tensions as a pretext to ramp up its presence in Eastern Europe. On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced that it would be redeploying 1,000 soldiers stationed in Germany to Romania, and sending 2,000 troops more from the continental United States to Germany and Poland. 8,500 more personnel are on standby to leave for Europe at a moment’s notice in the event of an escalation in Ukraine.
The Western media’s role in pumping up tensions has been criticised even by Ukrainian officials in recent weeks. On Friday, Bloomberg “inadvertently” set up a live feed of a Russian “invasion” of Ukraine, taking it down 30 minutes later and offering an apology. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told reporters that the false Bloomberg report was “a perfect demonstration of how dangerous the situation is when provoked by the endless aggressive statements that come from Washington, from London, and from other European governments.”
5 February 2022, 07:54 GMT