German Defense Minister Christina Lambrecht has decided to leave her post, Bild reports, citing sources.
According to them, Lambrecht is resigning of her own free will, the office of the Federal Chancellor did not force her to make such a decision.
The question of the date of Lambrecht’s departure from office is already being decided. Officials are holding internal consultations about who will take her position, the newspaper notes. Among the possible successors, it mentions the military commissar Eva Högl.
Christine Lambrecht was on duty Minister of Defense of Germany since December 8, 2021. Prior to that, she headed the Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, and later the Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.
The news of Lambrecht’s resignation preceded several weeks of active discussions about the transfer of modern German Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz was afraid to provide Ukraine with heavy tanks, believing that the Kremlin could regard this as an escalation of the conflict, wrote Bloomberg.
However, German authorities are likely to decide to provide Leopard to Ukraine, two officials familiar with government discussions told Bloomberg.
According to the agency, the country is due to announce this next week.It is Lambrecht who will have to announce the transfer of tanks to Ukraine at a meeting at the Ramstein base.
In recent weeks, NATO allies have been putting pressure on Germany and are increasingly urging it to get involved in providing Ukrainian troops with offensive weapons.
Leopard tanks are in service with many countries – in particular, Spain, Poland, Greece, Denmark and Finland. But no country can re-export tanks and transfer them to Ukraine without the permission of the manufacturing country. Leopard tanks are manufactured by the Munich defense company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.
Polish President Andrzej Duda already said this week that his country would provide Kyiv with a “company” (usually 14 vehicles) of German-made Leopard 2 tanks (which now requires Berlin’s consent). In addition, European countries are discussing the creation of a coalition to supply tanks to Ukraine.
(News to be added)