Germany’s surprising decision to send anti-tank weapons and surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine — abandoning its longstanding refusal to export war equipment to conflict zones — marks a historic break with its foreign policy following World War II.
“A new reality” was how Foreign Minister Olaf Scholtz described it in an unusually passionate speech to a special session of parliament. Scholz, who is usually mild-tempered, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine required a radically different response from Germany than in the past.
“With his invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, President Putin created a new reality,” Scholz told the Bundestag, where his speech was repeatedly applauded, particularly his condemnations of the Russian ruler. “This reality demands a clear answer. We have given one.”
Scholz said that Germany decided to send anti-tank weapons and surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine. He also indicated that the German government will channel 100 billion euros ($113 billion) into a special fund for its armed forces and increase its defense spending above 2% of GDP, a level it hasn’t met for a long time.