Germany will send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 stinger missiles to Ukraine, the German chancellor said on Saturday in a major policy shift by Berlin.
Olaf Scholz said the Russian invasion marked a “turning point”, and added: “It is our duty to do our best to help Ukraine defend against the invading army of Putin.”
The New York Times reported that Germany has also permitted the Netherlands to send 400 rocket-propelled grenades to Ukraine.
The Netherlands purchased the weapons from Germany, according to the Times, under a contract that required permission for the weapons to be sold on or donated.
Germany criticized for inaction in Ukraine
Germany has faced criticism for refusing to send weapons to Ukraine, unlike other western allies.
It sent 5,000 helmets to help Ukraine defend itself against the Russian invasion on Friday but its meager gesture has been ridiculed as a “joke.”
German officials had previously refused to send weapons or “lethal aid” to Ukraine, despite the build-up of Russian forces, and only offered the helmets after being criticized by Ukrainian leaders who said the move was a “betrayal of friends.”
Ahead of a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin Saturday afternoon, Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki criticized the German response.
Morawiecki said Germany’s aid thus far — of military helmets, not weapons — is a far cry from what’s necessary to help Ukraine defend itself.
“What kind of help was delivered to Ukraine? Five thousand helmets? This must be a joke,” Morawiecki said.
Germany has a long-standing policy of not exporting weapons to war zones, rooted partly in its bloody 20th-century history and resulting pacifism. Countries aiming to onpass German weapons exports need to apply for approval in Berlin first, Reuters reports.