Russia-Ukraine War: Tension As Germany Joins War Against Russia, Send Weapons To Ukraine, Says It’s ‘Our Duty’
Germany breaks historic post-WW2 rules to send weapons to Ukraine says ‘It’s our duty’
The country has finally announced its support for imposing “targeted and functional” restrictions on Russia from the SWIFT global interbank payment system., but Germany stopped short of backing a total ban of Russia from the financial telecommunications programme.
In a historic change of policy, Berlin has also announced that they will be supplying military weapons to Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a joint statement: “We are urgently working on how to limit the collateral damage of decoupling from SWIFT in such a way that it affects the right people.
“What we need is a targeted and functional restriction of SWIFT.”
Following a passionate plea from the Ukrainian ambassador, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also stated that 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 stinger surface-to-air missiles from Bundeswehr will be sent to help. Berlin has allowed the weapons to be transported through the Netherlands to Ukraine.
He said on Twitter: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point. It is our duty to do our best to support Ukraine in defending itself against Putin’s invading army.”
Germany has been criticised for not following other Western allies’ example in providing military aid, and was widely mocked for sending 5,000 military helmets to Ukraine in the lead up to the invasion.
The support for banning Russia from SWIFT comes after the EU bloc was lambasted for not following in the steps of the UK and US in banning Russia from the use of their currencies.
On Thursday, the US Treasury announced sanctions which targeted nearly 80 percent of all banking assets in Russia, which included the country’s two largest banks.
The UK followed suit, with Boris Johnson announcing all major Russian banks will have their assets frozen and be excluded from the UK financial system.
However, while the EU’s sanctions include 70 percent of the Russian banking market, it has yet to cover euro clearing.
SWIFT, which stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is the main secure messaging system that banks use to make rapid and secure cross-border payments, allowing international trade to flow smoothly.
Germany’s announcement does indicate a move towards harsher sanctions on Russia – but the bloc has yet to commit to following the UK and the US’s steps in preventing Russia’s use of their currency – in the case of the EU, the euro.
Germany has also announced the delivery of military support to Ukraine, in a shift in policy following criticism that the country was not supporting Kyiv like other Western allies.
The German defence minister confirmed that Berlin has approved the delivery of 400 RPGs from the Netherlands to Ukraine.
Germany is well-documented for refusing to export weapons to war zones – rooted partly in its pacifism following its bloody 20th-century history.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly referred to this policy recently, while refusing to deliver lethal weapons to aid Ukraine.
Kyiv’s ambassador to Germany gave an emotional plea for Berlin to follow the Netherlands’ example and supply Ukraine with Stinger air defence rockets.
In an interview with Reuters, Andry Melnyk said: “Damn it, it’s finally time to help us.
“We need air defence and we need a no fly zone.”
Today the Dutch government said in a letter to parliament that it will supply 200 air defence rockets to Ukraine.
However, Germany has yet to reach a decision regarding a request from Estonia to pass on old GDR howitzers to Ukraine.
Finland had purchased the military equipment in the 90s following the fall of the Berlin wall, and later resold them to Estonia.