Germany explains lack of defense sales to Ukraine
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas claimed on June 9 that Germany’s diplomatic role made it impossible to sell defense equipment to Ukraine, unian.info reported. At a joint press conference in Berlin with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Maas stated that because of Germany’s role as a intermediator, along with France, in the Normandy Four negotiations on Donbas, Germany could not supply arms to one side in the conflict.
Maas, speaking before the German parliament on June 9, also stated that he could see a way to create an environment for long-term shipments of Russian gas through Ukraine, reuters.com reports. He believes that the current contract expiration of 2024 could be done away with.
James Hydzik: Defenseworld.net reported on March 31 that France was preparing an offer to Ukraine of Rafale jet fighters as replacements for Ukraine’s ageing MiG-29s. The site quoted French media as pointing to recent Ukrainian purchases of Airbus helicopters as well as patrol boats.
When it comes to securing future gas shipments through Ukraine, the 54 year-old Maas is, in the most generous scenario, too young to remember the Russian closures and restrictions of the pipeline throughput starting in 2006.
As far as the purchase of German military radios and securing Ukraine's pipeline usage (and payments for it) are concerned, other voices will have to prevail. Politically, a shift after the German elections in September may put a more Ukraine-forward emphasis in the German Federal Foreign Office. More promising is the idea floated recently in Germany of using the Ukrainian pipeline for exporting hydrogen westward in a few years. The latter could help repair the hole in the Ukrainian budget if Russian payments stop, and raise German interest in securing the supply of this fuel as well.