Illustration photo – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stands next to the Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft system for the Ukrainian army.
Berlin – Slovakia is blocking the repair of German weapons from the war in Ukraine, and damaged howitzers are piling up on the Ukrainian-Slovakian border. This was reported today by the German server Business Insider, citing several high-ranking sources in the German government. Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď today rejected the problems on the Slovak side in this context. He further said at the press conference that he had no information about any equipment standing in front of the Slovak border for weeks.
According to the server, Slovakia has not been allowing weapons from Ukraine, intended for repair in Slovakia, into its territory for weeks. In mid-December, the German arms manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) set up a repair center for German weapons delivered to Ukraine in Slovakia, near Michalovci near the Ukrainian border. These are anti-tank howitzers, Gepard anti-aircraft systems and Mars rocket launchers.
Ukraine desperately needs heavy weapons as it faces a new Russian offensive, Business Insider points out, according to which behind-the-scenes efforts to resolve the issue have begun, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reportedly involved. According to the German server, Slovakia points to unresolved legal issues related, among other things, to import duties. Transporters with up to 15 damaged howitzers are waiting at the Slovak border.
According to the server, the German Ministry of Defense is trying to solve the situation at least partially by transporting individual weapons to the repair center via other EU countries, which means not only hundreds of extra kilometers, but also a considerable loss of time. The Mars and Cheetah rocket launchers are to be partly repaired directly in Germany.
After various interventions by the federal government at various levels, Chancellor Scholz became involved in the matter, according to Business Insider. Prime Minister Eduard Heger's government reportedly assured Scholz last week that the problem would be resolved soon. However, no one in the German government is relying on it now.
According to Business Insider, the German side admits that some legal issues were overlooked when concluding the relevant contract at the end of last year due to speed. However, the server also points to the fact that Slovakia is facing early elections and there is a government crisis and unclear power relations in the country. At the same time, the left-wing opposition is considered more pro-Russian.
According to the Slovak defense minister, Bratislava has fulfilled all its obligations arising from the memorandum with Germany. He admitted certain problems, but according to him, they were caused by a German private company, which is supposed to repair damaged equipment for Ukraine. “We have informed the German side about this. The German Ministry of Defense and the Chancellery have taken adequate steps and I can say that the situation has changed and I no longer see a problem there,” said Naď. of the Slovak Ministry of Defense were able to solve quickly. “The problems were completely different. They will also be solved after the German company responsible for this has done their homework. But according to the latest information I have, they are working on it very intensively and there should be no more problems ,” Naď added.