Ukraine’s new defence minister has blamed Germany for blocking the availability of weaponry to Kyiv by way of Nato, regardless of US warnings of a attainable imminent invasion by Russian forces.
Oleksii Reznikov instructed the Financial Times that Berlin had within the final month vetoed Ukraine’s buy of anti-drone rifles and anti-sniper techniques by way of the Nato Support and Procurement Agency. However, Germany had since relented on the primary merchandise after deeming it non-lethal.
“They are still building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and at the same time blocking our defensive weapons. It is very unfair,” Reznikov mentioned, referring to the Russian fuel pipeline, which runs by way of the Baltic Sea to Germany and bypasses current provide routes by way of Ukraine.
Kyiv has struggled to plugs gaps in its navy capabilities with allies cautious of supplying arms that could be deemed a provocation — or perhaps a pretext for escalation — by Russian president Vladimir Putin. Ukraine is urgently looking for to accumulate anti-missile and anti-aircraft techniques, digital warfare package and cyber defence gear.
Given the German blockage on procurement of deadly gear — a place taken by Angela Merkel’s authorities — Reznikov mentioned Ukraine would search to accumulate arms by way of bilateral offers with allies, together with US, UK, Lithuania and France.
The place of the brand new German authorities, led by chancellor Olaf Scholz, will not be but clear. The German financial system ministry, which is answerable for approving or vetoing weapons exports, declined to touch upon Sunday, as did the German chancellery.
In May, Robert Habeck, co-leader of the Greens and now financial system minister within the new ruling coalition, mentioned Ukraine’s requests for defensive weapons can be “hard to deny”.
Reznikov mentioned he was in a “very optimistic mood” about acquiring missiles and different defensive weaponry from the US and different western backers after holding talks together with his counterparts.
But he couldn’t affirm whether or not provides would arrive swiftly sufficient to discourage a full-blown Russian invasion. Western nations, led by the US administration of President Joe Biden, have up to now used the specter of crippling financial sanctions to dissuade Moscow from additional aggression.
After a summit in Liverpool, G7 international ministers launched a press release on Sunday calling on Moscow to “de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments”.
“Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response,” the assertion mentioned.
Reznikov mentioned western allies’ fears of confronting Putin from a place of power have been misguided.
“Not provoking Russia — that strategy does not work and will not work,” he mentioned, noting that Moscow had invaded Georgia after Berlin and Paris had blocked the nation’s path to becoming a member of Nato in 2008.
Despite the more and more loud US warnings of a attainable Russian invasion, Reznikov, like different Ukrainian officers, downplayed the upcoming menace.
Kyiv estimates there are round 100,000 Russian troops deployed alongside its borders — much like the Russian build-up throughout the spring and summer time. While Moscow is constructing encampments for as much as 175,000 personnel, according to US assessments, most of the tents seemed to be unoccupied, Reznikov mentioned.
Still, warfare can be a calamity for Europe with tens of millions of Ukrainians more likely to flee to the EU and Ukraine’s huge exports of grain positioned in jeopardy, he mentioned.
“There will be a lot of coffins coming back to Russia,” he mentioned, including an invasion would mark “the end of the current world” and open “a new era” with out worldwide guidelines.
Reznikov, a lawyer who served as minister for the reintegration of occupied territories till his promotion to defence minister final month, mentioned Kyiv had no indication from Washington that its aspirations to affix Nato can be delayed or excluded. Biden final week agreed to additional talks with Putin to debate Russia’s opposition to Ukraine’s Nato membership.
Moscow’s “red line” in opposition to Ukraine coming into Nato was simply a part of Russia’s “salami-slicing tactics” in opposition to the alliance, Reznikov mentioned. “My perception is the US has understood these threats. They have to keep the alliance unified.”
Reznikov additionally denied Kyiv had come beneath any stress from the US to grant particular standing or deeper autonomy to the occupied Donbas areas as means of kick-starting stalled peace talks.