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Germany names new defense minister amid pressure to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 17, 2023 1:33 PM 1 min read
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Germany has named as new defense minister Boris Pistorius, an interior minister from the state of Lower Saxony and member of the Social Democratic Party of the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, German media reported on Jan. 17.

Pistorius will replace Christine Lambrecht, who resigned on Monday, after her tenure was dogged by criticism of how she handled military aid to Ukraine as well as the project to improve the German military.

The replacement comes at a sensitive time. Germany is under growing pressure to provide Ukraine with modern Leopard-2 main battle tanks or allow other countries, such as Poland, to provide them instead.

"There are important decisions to be made in the short term," said German economy minister Robert Habeck in a statement on the appointment, "in particular the urgent question of how we continue to support Ukraine in its right to self-defense."

However, Scholz's government has repeatedly dragged its feet on the issue, complaining about the "pressure" Berlin was put under to provide the tanks.

NATO defense ministers will meet on Jan. 20, at the U.S. Ramstein air base in southwestern Germany to discuss continued weapons aid to Ukraine.

Berlin has said that it will give Germany's final decision on Leopard tank deliveries ahead of the summit.

Poland to deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine

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