The Daily Telegraph

Berlin blocks delivery of armoured carriers to Ukraine

- By Jorg Luyken

A GERMAN arms manufactur­er has refurbishe­d 16 armoured personnel carriers requested by Ukraine, but can’t deliver them because the German government is stalling on an export licence.

Rheinmetal­l confirmed to the broadcaste­r ARD on Tuesday that it had refurbishe­d the Marder vehicles, which were formerly used by the German army. The arms firm said it was in the process of refurbishi­ng a further 14 Marder vehicles, and had 70 more in warehouses which could be put back into action.

But Berlin refuses to grant an export licence, citing an agreement it says has been made between western allies not to export western-built battle tanks or armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine.

Olaf Scholz, the Chancellor, has said that Germany would not “go it alone” and would only deliver such weapons with the consent of its allies.

This stance has met with a furious reaction in Kyiv, where foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said this week that there was “not a single rational argument” for the German standpoint. “What is Berlin afraid of that Kyiv is not,” he asked.

The United States has said it would not mind if Germany chose to start delivering heavier weaponry. Writing on Twitter, the US embassy in Berlin stated that “the decision on the type of aid is ultimately up to each country itself ”.

The massive Ukrainian military advances of recent days have led politician­s inside Mr Scholz’ governing coalition to call for him to seize the moment and increase German military support.

Johannes Vogel, a senior member of the liberal Free Democrats, said: “I think the possibilit­ies we have in terms of Marder armoured vehicles need to be delivered to Ukraine now.”

Anton Hofreiter, a member of the Bundestag for the Greens, told the media company RND that Berlin should stop “hiding behind” other countries.

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