Understanding Germany’s Reluctance
Western allies have expressed frustration with Germany’s hesitancy to provide Ukraine with lethal support during the most recent conflict with Russia. Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has simultaneously expressed verbal support for Ukraine and NATO while also refusing to provide weapons to the Ukrainian military. Chancellor Scholz cited the German policy which bans the export of weapons to current conflict zones. Analysts are quick to point out the inconsistencies in this position. Back in 2016, Germany sent 2,000 tons of weapons to Kurds fighting the Islamic State.
For Germany sending weapons and troops to Ukraine would be a defiant move in the face of their number one supplier of gas. With the establishment of the Nord Stream Two pipeline, Germany has become even more dependent on Russia for its energy needs. While German officials have stated they could abandon the project if Russia invades Ukraine, it will mean losing an $11 billion project slated to begin operation in March of this year.
While Germany can blame their inaction on its policy of staying out of ongoing conflict zones, this serves as a convenient excuse for a country on the cusp of transitioning a significant portion of its energy supply to Russian sources.