Home Conflict | Accident Russia headed for defeat in Ukraine, German economy minister says

Russia headed for defeat in Ukraine, German economy minister says

FILED - Robert Habeck, German Minister for the Economy and Climate Protection, speaks during an interview to journalists from the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) in his office. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/dpa

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will end in military defeat because of broad Western support for Kiev, according to German Economy Minister Robert Habeck.

“Nobody would have thought that 2022 would end like this,” Habeck said in an interview with dpa.

“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin is losing this war on the battlefield” because the Ukrainian army is receiving weapons from Europe, NATO and the US and is using these weapons “skilfully and strategically, cleverly and heroically,” the minister said.

“I am in favour of Germany, together with the allies, supporting Ukraine in such a way that it can win this war,” said Habeck, who had advocated arms deliveries to Kiev before the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Following the beginning of the Russian invasion at the end of February, Berlin came under fire for its initial reluctance to send weapons to Ukraine. However in a break with principles that had been in place for decades, centre-left Chancellor Olaf Scholz eventually announced an end to a ban on arms deliveries to war zones.

Since then, deliveries worth €2.24 billion have been approved for Ukraine, including anti-aircraft tanks, self-propelled howitzers, multiple rocket launchers and the IRIS-T air defence system.

Habeck, who also serves as Scholz’s deputy, said he was certain that Germany and its Western allies would continue to send “new systems and further support,” but emphasized that Berlin would not act unilaterally.

During a recent visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the US, Washington committed to providing Ukraine with a Patriot air defence system.

Germany’s Bundeswehr also has the defensive weapons system and recently agreed to provide Poland with three systems. However, German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit has said none would be available for Ukraine.

When asked whether Germany should supply Ukraine with the Patriots, Habeck said: “It’s good that the US are delivering the Patriots. When it comes to Germany: We have also been supporting Ukraine with heavy weapons, for months, and we will continue to do so.”

It had been decided that Germany would expand the delivered IRIS-T systems, produce ammunition for Gepard tanks and deliver further IRIS systems, the minister added.

He warned, however, that delivering the new systems would take time because of the complicated manufacturing process. “It’s not a mass product,” Habeck said.

“There will certainly always be new systems, further support, but they must always be agreed in conjunction with the allies,” he said.


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