Sticking to its guns: Why Germany is refusing to arm Ukraine even if it upsets allies

There is bewilderment – and criticism – from Ukraine and its allies over Germany’s stance to requests from Kiev for arms, but Berlin is standing firm, reports Erik Kirschbaum

Tuesday 25 January 2022 15:18
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<p>A Ukrainian soldier stands at the line of separation from pro-Russian rebels, in the Donetsk region</p>

A Ukrainian soldier stands at the line of separation from pro-Russian rebels, in the Donetsk region

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Germany is the world’s fourth largest exporter of weapons, selling state-of-the-art arms worth billions of dollars to countries with questionable human rights records such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia without batting an eye.

Yet Nato’s second largest country has turned a deaf ear to increasingly urgent requests from Ukraine for defensive weapons even though most other nations in the north Atlantic alliance are rushing material to the threatened eastern Europe country, which is braced for a possible attack from its powerful neighbour Russia.

Due in part to its shame and the lessons learned from starting two world wars and the dark legacy of mercenary arms makers like Krupp that once so happily sold deadly weapons to all, Germany has long had a strong desire to be seen as a global peacemaker and it fancies itself for placing strict controls on the arms it exports.

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