Written by Paul Antonopoulos, independent geopolitical analyst
Discussions in Berlin about the supply of heavy equipment to Ukraine are ongoing, with lobbying for such supplies having the aim of forming a certain public opinion to drag Germany into a confrontation with Russia. The intense debate in the German government over the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine, including the Flakpanzer Gepard anti-aircraft guns, leads to the country completely abandoning a less militaristic policy that was forced on the country after its defeat in World War II.
In addition, 60 Ukrainian soldiers arrived in Germany on May 11 to begin 40 days training on the five-man operated Howitzer 2000 artillery system, and other training centers are reportedly opened/opening, thus making the European economic powerhouse a proxy of Ukraine and a participant in the conflict.
Elements of the German government are lobbying for the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine, particularly Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on the other hand, takes a more cautious and balanced position, stating that the possibility of the Bundeswehr supplying more heavy weapons to Ukraine is practically exhausted. At the same time, he noted that Germany would continue to provide financial and military assistance to Ukraine.
None-the-less, Germany is still delaying the transfer of the Flakpanzer Gepard to Ukraine. According to Welt, citing a source in the Ukrainian government, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht did not provide correct information for obtaining weapons. The Minister did not inform the Ukrainian government that they would have to order the Flakpanzer Gepard directly from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). The German outlet reports that Kiev was told that it would receive tanks directly from the federal government.
The head of the German Defense Ministry announced that the contract would be between Ukraine and KMW, therefore excluding the participation of the federal government whose role was only to give permission for a deal. As a result, the actual timing of Gepard deliveries has not yet been determined.
What is being omitted from discussions is that German-supplied weapons, and from other Western countries, could end up in the hands of neo-Nazis organizations like the Azov Battalion and even onwards to extremist Islamic groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. According to Iraqi security military expert Jalil Khalaf: “America has sent a lot of weapons and so-called neo-Nazi volunteers to Ukraine. The very fact of this is a great danger not only for these countries, but also for the whole world, because no one rules out that these weapons can go to extremists or even IS.”
It is recalled that ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other jihadist organizations in Syria received Western-made weapons that were initially supplied to so-called “moderate rebel groups.” With Ukraine still having access to the Black Sea via the major port city of Odessa and being within a close flight proximity, Western weapons could very much be smuggled from Ukraine in the post-war period to Islamic terrorist organizations on Russia’s frontier in the Caucasus, keeping in mind that both ISIS and Al-Qaeda have a presence in the region.
A US intelligence source told CNN on April 19, when speaking about weapons accountability in Ukraine, that: “We have fidelity for a short time, but when it enters the fog of war, we have almost zero. It drops into a big black hole, and you have almost no sense of it at all after a short period of time.”
In addition, a US defense official said that in making the decision to send billions of dollars of weapons and equipment into Ukraine, the Biden administration factored in the risk that some of the shipments may ultimately end up in supposed unexpected places. But right now, the official said, the administration views a failure to adequately arm Ukraine as a greater risk.
It is more than likely that the West, including the US and Germany, very well know that these weapons end up in the hands of Far Right extremists like the Azov Battalion and Right Sector, but put the responsibility onto Ukraine under the guise of not knowing where weapons end up once they enter the country. There is every possibility that in a post-war Ukraine, especially if the country maintains access to the Black Sea, the weapons will be recycled on another Russian frontier, just as Western-made weapons used to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi were redirected against Syria.
Although Germany claims it was de-Nazified when it was defeated in World War II, by supplying weapons to a Ukraine that glorifies World War II Nazi collaborators like Stepan Bandera – weapons which will more than likely be used by neo-Nazi paramilitary groups that were absorbed into the Republican Guard and officialised, Berlin demonstrates that it is reluctant to take a neutral posture and considering the prospects to be actively involved in the conflict to support Ukraine. In light of the normalization of Ukrainian neo-Nazis across the Western media sphere and a Europe increasingly submissive to Washington’s interests, Berlin is still willing to militarily supply a regime that upholds Nazi ideology.