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Turnaround in Berlin: Germany to Supply Arms to Ukraine, Accept SWIFT Sanctions on Russia

After much hesitation, the German government decided to supply weapons to Ukraine and support additional sanctions on Russia. “In this situation, it is our duty to support Ukraine,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The German government has approved the supply of weapons from the Bundeswehr reserves to Ukraine, spokesman Steffen Heberstright said on Saturday. Berlin will also allow a targeted expulsion of Russia from the SWIFT system. 

The Ukrainian military will be backed by 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missile systems, Heberstright said. The German government has previously allowed Estonia to send artillery to Ukraine, and the Netherlands to send 400 German-owned rocket launchers. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a turning point in history, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said after the government agreed to donate weapons to Ukrainians.
“In this situation, it is our duty to support Ukraine as best we can in its defense of Vladimir Putin’s army,” Scholz said.

In addition, 14 specially protected armored vehicles will be sent to Ukraine. Vehicles should be used for personal protection and evacuation. Authorities in Kiev, through Poland, will receive another 10,000 tons of fuel. Additional assistance is being discussed in Berlin in the coming days. 

Germany has so far refused to supply arms to Ukraine over a provision banning the delivery of weapons to war zones.

Expulsion of Russia from SWIFT 

At the same time, Germany agreed to support efforts to exclude Russia from the SWIFT banking system. Berlin has so far been reluctant to take this measure and thought it would bring harm everywhere, not just Russia. Foreign Minister Annalen Berbock and Economy Minister Robert Habek said they were “working urgently to limit collateral damage from SWIFT exclusion in order for the measure to reach the right people.”

“We need a targeted and functional limitation of SWIFT,” they said in a joint statement.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the EU to impose additional sanctions on Russia, citing Germany and Hungary as blocking the decision. 

“There is almost complete support in the EU for the exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT. “I hope Germany and Hungary will have the courage to support the decision,” Zelenski said. 

The Hungarian government has vehemently denied the allegations, calling them “fake news” but has not yet said whether it would support them. 

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