Germany: military aid to Ukraine

  • July 4, 2022
  • 2 Min Read

Berlin has approved the delivery to Ukraine of around fifty Gepard 1A4 machines intended for anti-aircraft warfare. This announcement should put an end, at least temporarily, to criticism linked to Germany’s lack of commitment to Ukraine. Retired from active service with the Bundeswehr in the mid-2010s, the Gepard with its two 35 mm Oerlikon KDA L/90 guns, supplied with 680 shells, can still prove very effective in the fight against aircraft, in particular helicopters and drones.

However, even if this weapon system is considered by Germany to be defensive, Switzerland refuses to supply ammunition for the various German devices likely to be transferred to Ukraine.

Berlin is therefore trying to find other suppliers in order to obtain the 450,000 35 mm shells necessary for the implementation of the Gepards to be delivered to kyiv. Among the potential suppliers, already approached by Germany, it seems, include Brazil, Qatar and Jordan, all three of which have Gepard 1A2s and the associated 35mm ammunition. None of the countries contacted has yet released any information on their availability on this subject.

“If Germany cannot solve this problem quickly, Ukraine will probably have to reject the offer,” the Ukrainian ambassador to Berlin has already said. Same Swiss refusal concerning 20 mm ammunition to supply the Mk20 Rh 202 cannon equipping the Marder, of which Rheinmetall proposed to transfer a hundred copies to Ukraine.

Although having adopted various sanctions against Russia, Switzerland thus demonstrates its status of neutrality prohibiting it from delivering arms or ammunition to conflict zones. However, after hesitating about the potential delivery of “heavy weapons” to kyiv, Berlin decided on May 6 to hand over seven 155 mm PzH-2000s taken from Bundeswehr stocks to the Ukrainian forces.