BERLIN – After weeks of scrutiny weak diplomatic stance against Russia, the German government announced it would send 5,000 combat helmets to help Ukraine defend itself in the event of an attack by Moscow.
“It’s a clear signal: we are on your side,” Christine Lambrecht, Germany’s defense minister, said after Wednesday’s parliamentary meeting where she announced the funding.
It was not received as the gesture of kindness that Mrs. Lambrecht may have intended.
“The obvious plan is for 5,000 Ukrainian soldiers to run across the border and confront the Russian troops deployed there,” said Marina Weisband, an author and former politician born in Ukraine, wrote on Twitter.
“Can you be any more embarrassed?” tweeted Ruprecht Polenz, a prominent member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party. “Would 5,000 helmets make a Russian invasion less likely?”
The German word for helmet – Helme – went viral on Twitter after this announcement, a sign of mockery that many people viewed the donation. Critics see this as another sign that the German government has shown caution regarding the growing crisis around Ukraine, where it is reluctant to take the lead on security affairs in Europe. Europe has led to a more tolerant stance towards Russia than the United States and other European powers.
Germany, like Europe as a whole, depends on Russia for natural gas. And some political leaders have warned against excluding Russian banks from the Swift payments network, which processes global financial transactions, as it would harm economic interests. of Germany.
Germany has said it will not deliver weapons to Ukraine, following a longstanding policy of not supplying lethal weapons to potential conflict zones. It is also holding a consignment of nine Communist-era artillery vehicles from Estonia to Ukraine. The German government recently promised to send a field hospital to Ukraine.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, mentioned in a newspaper interview that the country needs 100,000 helmets and bulletproof vests. But after Germany announced it was giving away helmets, Mr Melnyk called it “a drop in the ocean”.
Perhaps the most obvious rebuke comes from Vitali Klitschko, a former boxing champion who is now the mayor of Kyiv. Speaking to German tabloid Bild, Mr Klitschko said: “5,000 helmets is a complete joke. What support will they send next? Pillow? ”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/world/europe/germany-5000-helmets-ukraine.html Germany made a mockery for promising to help 5,000 helmets for Ukraine