German Defense Minister in the USA: Ukraine Gets 'HIMARS', Agreement Made

These are systems from the US Army, and Germany will pay for them, German Defense Minister Pistorius announced in Washington

by Sededin Dedovic
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German Defense Minister in the USA: Ukraine Gets 'HIMARS', Agreement Made
© Win McNamee / Getty Images

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) managed to skillfully answer questions posed in English during a debate in Washington. But when the topic of "debt brake" came up, he ran into difficulties explaining how he finds the provision outlined in the German constitution to be senseless.

Specifically, how to allocate more money for defense without new borrowing or tax increases? In the United States, there is no understanding for Germany's debt brake, a legal provision that stipulates that new borrowing of the state budget may not exceed 0.35 percent of GDP in one year.

Nevertheless, in Washington, they certainly saw that the German Defense Minister was making efforts to increase spending and take on greater responsibility. "Germany remains one of the strongest and most reliable allies of the United States.

I am proud that we can continue to work together on security and peace," said US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin, who met with Pistorius at the Pentagon. And the fact that Germany plans to permanently deploy one of its brigades in Lithuania - that is a historic commitment and it will strengthen European security, Austin said.

The US Defense Minister especially praised Germany's involvement in Ukraine. On the one hand, because Germany is the European country that has received the most refugees from Ukraine, and also because Germany is, after the US, the largest donor of money for Ukrainian defense.

"The German government has just decided 'that together with the Americans, we will deliver three HIMARS rocket launchers to Ukraine'," announced Pistorius. These are systems from the US military, and Germany will pay for them, Pistorius announced in Washington.

HIMARS is a rocket launcher with a range of 75 kilometers. Germany has become a different country, times have changed, said the German Defense Minister in a speech at Johns Hopkins University in Washington. "Germany is a steadfast ally, capable and ready to play its role in NATO and in world politics," said Pistorius.

: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (R) greets German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius at the Pentagon on May 09, 2024 in A© Win McNamee / Getty Images

After the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Germany abandoned its restraint in sending weapons to conflict areas.

So far, military aid to Ukraine has amounted to around seven billion euros, the German minister told his interlocutor in the US capital, making it clear that allocating two percent of GDP for defense is the lower, not the upper limit for Germany.

NATO members have long agreed to allocate two percent of their GDP to defense. Germany will reach that amount for the first time this year - and Pistorius wants to increase it further. Pistorius also said that he considers the abolition of military service in Germany a mistake and is seeking to reintroduce "some form of military service".

The German Defense Minister showed understanding for US President Joe Biden's announcement that he will consider changing his stance towards Israel. Biden has announced that he will stop military support to Israel if the Israeli army enters the city of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip.

When asked by ZDF whether Germany is considering similar steps, Pistorius replied that this is being discussed and he cannot answer that question. Israeli operations in Rafah are currently mostly limited to the eastern part of the city, where an evacuation order was issued earlier this week.

The US is a major supporter of Israel, but President Joe Biden has threatened to further restrict supplies if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launches a major offensive. Israel says the goal of the Rafah operation is to eliminate the Palestinian extremist organization Hamas.

After a meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday, Pistorius called for the prevention of further escalation of the war in Gaza. Both agreed that everything must be done to alleviate or end the humanitarian plight of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip.

According to reports from non-governmental organizations, heavy bombs, supplied to Israel by the US, have already caused massive destruction in other parts of the Gaza Strip. However, it seems that now, in the case of Rafah, a red line has been crossed.

This is also because, as estimated, 1.2 to 1.3 million people sought shelter from Israeli combat actions in the Gaza Strip. While Israeli President Itzchak Herzog called for restraint, the opposition is using the scandal between Washington and Jerusalem to deeply criticize Netanyahu's government.

Yair Lapid, former Israeli prime minister, who held the position until the end of 2022, said the country needs a new leader and a new era in which the slogan "Together We Will Win" also means "Together We Build a New Israeli Society".

This puts even more pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu, and if Germany follows the example of the USA, it can trigger a wave of such decisions. German Defense Minister Pistorius continues his journey with a visit to Canada, reported DW.

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