German defense minister resigns amid Ukraine war backlash

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German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht on Monday tendered her resignation, amid scrutiny over Berlin’s response to the war in Ukraine.

“Today I asked the Chancellor to be released from the role of defense minister,” Lambrecht said in a statement, according to a CNBC translation.

Her step down comes as Germany mulls whether to approve an increase in military support to Ukraine in order to help Kyiv’s armed forces prevail against the Russian onslaught.

“The focus from the media over months on my person hardly allows for objective reporting and discussion about the soldiers, the armed forces and the course for security policy in the interest of Germany’s citizens,” Lambrecht said.

Lambrecht, a senior lawmaker in German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party, had faced sustained pressure over her credibility to lead the country’s armed forces.

Multiple media outlets reported over the weekend that Lambrecht’s resignation could be imminent, following a series of missteps.

Lambrecht, a member of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's governing coalition in Berlin, has been under fire for failing to secure enough ammunition for the German armed forces.

She was facing criticism after what has been derided as a glacially slow rollout of defense spending following the Chancellor announcing around US$105 billion in new funds for the German military in March. This was part of the "Zeitenwende", or turning point in German military approach following the start of the conflict in Ukraine.

Big questions have reportedly been raised about why action wasn't taken earlier: When Lambrecht took office in December 2021 the situation was already apparent. Since then, Germany has reportedly donated weapons and munitions to Ukraine, depleting already precarious supplies.

According to Reuters, Chancellor Olaf Scholz accepted Lambrecht’s resignation as defense minister with a successor to be proposed soon.

Source: Asia-Plus