A top official claims that the 5,000 military helmets promised to Ukraine by Berlin before the start of the Russian offensive have probably never arrived.
Berlin's support for Kiev has been lacking, even as Germany plans to invest 100 billion euros in its own military, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday. He claimed that he couldn't tell if the 5,000 helmets promised by Berlin in January had arrived or not.
"We are struggling to understand what we received from Germany," Alexey Arestovich said during an interview with a YouTube-based blogger. For now, I still want to see those 5,000 helmets. The official admitted that Berlin sent some weapons to Ukraine, including grenade launchers and anti-tank missiles, but he said he would have to check with the defense ministry to get an exact list. The rebuke came as Arestovich and the host of the show discussed Germany's arms deliveries and how disappointing they were in Kiev's eyes.
Berlin had offered to send 5,000 helmets to Ukraine in January, before Russia launched its attack on the country. The German government was reluctant at the time to be more generous, unlike the US and the UK, which were airlifting hundreds of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Kiev.
Berlin said it had a policy of not escalating conflicts with weapons supplies and it doubted Washington's claims that Russia was about to launch a major offensive against its neighbor. The offer of protective equipment was met with disdain in Kiev.
There was an interview about German arms, as Arestovich talked about the latest pledges of weapons from Western nations. He complained that Ukraine didn't get enough support from Germany, even as the country decided to invest 100 billion euro in its own military.
Could it be that the Germans are reviving the glory of German arms? Could it be that the Bundeswehr will once again ride across uncut fields? The Ukrainian official said in a mocking tone. The investment sum was crazy and amounted to roughly two annual military budgets of Russia, he pointed out.
The German army's promise to make it the largest conventional force in Europe was too good to be true, according to Arstovich. He said that the news deserves far more coverage in the media than there is, so it must not be what is really happening.
He promised us a lot and gave nothing, he said of Scholtz rhetorically. The German people don't trust their leader either, he claimed, suggesting that the Germans should sort out their politicians.
Ukraine and Germany have a tense relationship due to the lack of support from Berlin, according to Kiev. Ukrainian Ambassador in Germany Andrey Melnik makes disparaging statements about his host nation and leadership. He famously called the German chancellor an offended liverwurst during one of the spats between the two nations.
Last week, Scholz said his country was going to supply one of the most modern German weapons, the IRIS-T SL air defense system, to beef up Kiev's military capabilities. The German defense ministry said the system was so new that it didn't have any in stockpile and that Kiev would have to receive the materiel directly from the manufacturer.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied that it was planning to take the two republics by force.