Ukraine’s Ambassador to Germany Disappointed by Slow Pace of Weapons Deliveries
16:58 GMT 25.05.2022 (Updated: 17:11 GMT 25.05.2022)
Berlin has delivered or promised to send more than two billion euros’ worth of military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank and anti-air missile systems, armoured vehicles, grenades, helmets, and millions of rounds of ammunition, plus heavy equipment like anti-aircraft tanks and long-range howitzers.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk has accused Berlin of deliberately delaying the supply of promised heavy weapons systems in what has become his latest verbal attack on the Olaf Scholz government.
“It’s very disappointing that the promised 15 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks cannot be delivered until the end of July at the earliest, and another 15 Gepards only at the end of August”, Melnyk said, speaking to the Funke media group on Tuesday.
“And this despite the fact that every day counts, especially now that Russia is making new gains in the course of its massive offensive in the Donbass, destroying more and more cities and devastating entire areas. This delaying tactic by the ‘Traffic Light’ [the German coalition government] is especially bitter”, he added.
Accusing Berlin of breaking its promise to deliver heavy weapons, Melnyk suggested that the Scholz government lacked the political will to make good on its promises.
The ambassador calculated that the Federal Republic could easily send at least 130 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and 88 Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine.
“We appeal once again to the federal chancellor to finally give the green light for these supplies essential for survival”, Melnyk stressed.
The ambassador did not elaborate on how the additional German weapons specifically would assist Kiev, which has already received over $54 billion in military assistance from the US alone, and billions more from European Union countries, Canada, Australia, Japan, and other US allies.
21 May 2022, 04:58 GMT
Melnyk has spent weeks attacking the German government and Chancellor Scholz personally over Berlin’s perceived failure to show support for Kiev in the wake of Russia’s special military operation.
Earlier this month, German lawmakers demanded that the ambassador be thrown out of the country after he claimed Scholz was “playing an offended liverwurst sausage” for refusing to go to Kiev personally. The chancellor has held off from visiting the Ukrainian capital over Kiev’s snub of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whom Ukrainian officials refused to meet over his supposed “close ties to Russia”.
Melnyk took another sausage-related jab at Scholz on Monday, tweeting about a German butcher who had sent him a basket of his meats as a gift and inviting him to visit the embassy. “We are pleased to welcome you and your wife on 9-11 June. And hopefully soon in Ukraine, maybe even faster than some German politicians”, he wrote.
Lieber Walter Adam, es freut uns sehr, Sie und Ihre Gattin am 9.-11. Juni in Berlin zu empfangen. Und hoffentlich auch bald in der #Ukraine, vielleicht sogar schneller als so manche 🇩🇪Politiker 😀#LeberWurstRules💪— Andrij Melnyk (@MelnykAndrij) May 23, 2022
Reportage von #FalkReimer @rheinpfalz https://t.co/KgZObksXoR pic.twitter.com/bmwRM8yZW8
The ambassador’s jab gave rise to a fresh bout of criticism online from ordinary Germans. “Obviously, you’re better off dealing with butchers (I have nothing against them) than with heads of state and government. Have you thought about changing professions?” one person asked. “I don’t know – you seem to talk a lot about sausage, unless you have some kind of advertising contract, in which case all these posts are not surprising”, another quipped. “How low can this clown ambassador fall? Doesn’t he realise that his vile speeches are no longer listened to?” a third person asked.
Melnyk is well known for attracting controversy since his appointment as ambassador in 2014, visiting the grave of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera in 2015, warning that Ukraine may turn to nuclear weapons if it was not allowed to join NATO, and trying to guilt Germany into sending weapons for its “historical responsibility to Ukraine for Nazi tyranny”. Earlier this year, one German newspaper reported that behind the scenes, Melnyk was considered such a “pain in the a**” by the political establishment that officials go out of their way to avoid meeting with him.
Germany has pledged over three billion euros in combined military and economic support to Kiev.
German arms assistance includes thousands of Panzerfaust 3 and MATADOR anti-tank weapons, Stinger and Strela-2 anti-aircraft missiles (some of the latter Cold War vintage stocks inherited from the German Democratic Republic), millions of rounds of ammunition, armoured cars, 23,000 combat helmets, night vision devices and reconnaissance drones, 100,000 grenades, and over 5,600 anti-tank mines. Berlin has also promised Kiev 50 used Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, and seven Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers.