For weeks, the Western Allies put more and more pressure on the German government. Berlin has now agreed to deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to help repel the Russian invasion. For Germany, this decision marks a significant change in policy, as the country has previously been reluctant to send heavy weapons.
Despite initial hesitation, Germany has provided significant military support to Ukraine since the war began in February last year. According to figures from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, 2.3 billion euros had been pledged for this by last November.
But how are Germany and its European allies financing these weapons for Ukraine? Funding for both equipment and funding comes from a number of different sources.
Parts of the military equipment sent from Germany to Ukraine come from Bundeswehr stocks. For example, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, Germany has more than 300 Leopard 2 main battle tanks.
The German government published a list of support payments to Kyiv. These include, for example, five MARS II multiple rocket launchers with ammunition, 14 self-propelled howitzers 2000 (in a joint project with the Netherlands), 22 million rounds of small arms ammunition and 14,000 sleeping bags.
In no other country in the EU is the armaments industry as important as in Germany. Last year, the German government put 2 billion euros into armaments aid for partner countries, which is intended to support allies in a crisis and which is currently benefiting Ukraine in particular. With this money, military equipment can be ordered from German companies, which is then sent to Ukraine.
For this year, Germany has earmarked 2.3 billion euros for this armaments aid. Most of them are earmarked for Ukraine. Recently, for example, 107 border guard vehicles were financed from these funds.
Shortly after Russia launched its military offensive in Ukraine last February, the EU made the historic decision to use money from a relatively new fund, the European Peace Facility (EFF), to support Ukraine. For the first time, the fund was used to supply lethal weapons, i.e. potentially lethal weapons, to a third country.
Since then, the EU has provided around €3.6 billion in collective funds to the Ukrainian military, from which both lethal and non-lethal support services have been funded. The amount of the contributions to the European Peace Facility depends on the economic performance of the member states. Germany, with the largest GDP within the EU, therefore makes the largest contribution.
The EFF can also reimburse member states for money they have spent on military aid to Ukraine. Poland, for example, is among Ukraine’s top military supporters and has already hinted that it will seek EU funds to cover the cost of the Leopard 2 tanks that Warsaw plans to supply to Kyiv.
The announcement of supplying Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine marks a shift in Germany’s willingness to send heavy weapons to Ukraine. Previously, the government had managed with so-called ring deceptions. Germany did not deliver certain weapons – in particular battle tanks and other heavy war equipment – to Ukraine but to partner countries in NATO. These countries then supplied arms to Ukraine from their own older stocks.
The legacy of World War II is also felt in the issue of direct deliveries of heavy weapons to Ukraine. With the exchange of rings, Germany was able to avoid this controversial issue and still demonstrate its solidarity. At the same time, Berlin contributed to the military modernization of NATO countries.
The results of this complicated model have so far been mixed. Poland has been critical of the idea, but the ring swap worked for other countries within the EU, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Adapted from the English by Phoenix Hanzo.
Author: Ella Joyner
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The original of this post “How is the EU financing war equipment for Ukraine?” comes from Deutsche Welle.