Germany may repurchase artillery systems from Qatar to send to Ukraine
The SPAAG systems were initially sold to Qatar in 2020 for ensured security at the 2022 World Cup tournament
By News Desk - February 03 2023

(Photo credit: AFP)

German media reported on 3 January that Berlin is contemplating repurchasing several Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns (SPAAG) from Qatar, as well as their munitions – which it sold to the Gulf state over two years ago – in order to send them to the Ukrainian army as military aid.

These anti-aircraft artillery systems were initially sold to Doha in 2020 with the aim of providing security for the 2022 World Cup tournament hosted by Qatar. Following the end of the World Cup on 18 December, German government representatives visited the GCC state to discuss the matter.

“The Gepards have proven themselves very well in the war in Ukraine. If we could get more from partners here, that would definitely help the Ukrainians,” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius was quoted to have said by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. This coincides with Germany’s approval to deliver its Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine. German arms firm Rheinmetall and Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) said that it is reconditioning 88 Leopard tanks for Ukraine “if Kiev is willing to buy them,” signifying that the tanks will be sold to Ukraine.

According to Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany is also planning to send its last seven SPAAGs to Ukraine, which would give it possession of 37 Gepard guns. However, concerns have been raised over munitions, which are made in Switzerland and which the Swiss have been reluctant to hand over to Ukraine because of their policy of neutrality.

Since the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine, western nations have attempted to sway their Arab allies to alleviate the energy crisis caused by heavy sanctions on Moscow. As a result of this western pressure campaign, Qatar signed an agreement on 29 November with US oil refining company ConocoPhillips to export two million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Germany for at least 15 years as of 2026.

Similarly, energy cooperation deals are in discussion between France and the UAE.

As Berlin attempts to repurchase these SPAAGs from Qatar to send to Kiev as aid, Washington has been working similarly in a bid to arm the Ukrainian military. In mid-January, the White House requested that the Israeli defense ministry provide old Hawk missiles purchased from the US in the 1960s to the Ukrainian army.

On 17 January, the New York Times (NYT) reported that the US had secretly transferred hundreds of thousands of artillery shells from a massive stockpile stored in Israel to Ukraine.

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