Germany on Saturday authorized the Netherlands to send weapons to Ukraine in a major shift in a long-standing policy to not export weapons to a war zone.
The Netherlands will send Ukraine 400 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the defence ministry in Berlin said, according to Reuters.
Germany has authorized the Netherlands to send Ukraine 400 rocket-propelled grenade launchers to aid in the fight against Russian invaders, according to two EU officials — marking an abrupt shift in Berlin’s military policy amid pressure from EU and NATO allies.
A German government spokesperson later confirmed the move to POLITICO.
Until Saturday, Germany had clung to a longstanding practice of not permitting lethal weapons that it controlled to be transferred into a conflict zone.
That stance bewildered some European officials, even more so after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion and launched missile strikes on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.
Germany’s shift comes as numerous Western allies are mobilizing to send Ukraine more guns, ammunition and even anti-aircraft defense systems as Russian forces bear down on major Ukrainian cities.
The reversal could mean a rapid increase in European military assistance for Ukraine, as large portions of the Continent’s weapons and ammunition are at least in part German-manufactured, giving Berlin legal control over their transfer. Yet Berlin’s changing stance does not necessarily mean all requests for arms shipments will be approved, as each case is decided individually.