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BILD: Delays in deliveries of 400 German armored vehicle to Ukraine exposed by leaked documents

Internal documents expose ongoing challenges in meeting the $315 million contract with Flensburg-based FFG.
Boris Pistorius, Germany Minister of Defence, 2023. Photo: Depositphotos
Boris Pistorius, Germany’s Minister of Defence, 2023. Photo: Depositphotos.
BILD: Delays in deliveries of 400 German armored vehicle to Ukraine exposed by leaked documents

Germany’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius is grappling with significant delays in the delivery of up to 400 heavily armored transport vehicles to Ukraine, according to leaked documents obtained by BILD.

The $315 million deal between the German government and the Flensburg-based arms company FFG for “MRAP” (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles was meant to bolster Ukraine’s mobility on the battlefield against Russian forces. However, the rollout has been plagued by setbacks.

In March, Pistorius announced that Germany is delivering vehicles to sustainably strengthen mobility on the battlefield in Ukraine. A defense ministry spokesperson confirmed to BILD that the minister was referring to “100 protected infantry vehicles” from FFG.

An internal September 2023 document stated that FFG would deliver the vehicles in “batches” of 20 from January to October 2024, totaling 200 MRAPs within ten months. However, this ambitious timeline quickly unraveled. So far, no vehicles of this type have been delivered, according to a ministry spokesperson told BILD when asked about the delays. The delivery of the vehicles is scheduled for 2024 in several steps, so-called batches.

BILD’s investigation found that the original 200-vehicle plan for 2024 was scrapped early in the year, with only 100 MRAPs now expected for delivery starting in May – a delay from the initial January target.

A more recent mid-April classified document reveals the 100 vehicles promised by Pistorius in March will not be delivered until “June 2024 at the earliest.”

The delays likely stem from FFG’s reliance on outsourced components for the mine-protected vehicles. Vehicle components are manufactured in the USA and delivered to Germany for final vehicle assembly, an FFG spokesperson admitted to BILD, without specifying the vehicle type.

Ministry insiders suggest the root cause is a lack of necessary mine-protection certifications, which are critical for ensuring Ukrainian soldiers’ safety against explosions. As of mid-April, no successful explosive tests had been carried out to obtain the required certifications. The mine protection promised by FFG has therefore not yet been proven, a ministry insider told BILD.

FFG provided a partial denial, stating that tprotection level has been successfully tested in the past and is now being re-verified and the necessary certifications from the responsible testing authorities are available.

The recent aid package to Ukraine from Germany, announced earlier this month, includes 10,000 artillery shells from Bundeswehr stocks, 100 armored vehicles for infantry, and 100 transport vehicles. Additionally, Germany has pledged to finance the purchase of 180,000 artillery shells through a Czech-led initiative aimed at supplying Ukraine with critical ammunition.

This support is part of Germany’s ongoing commitment to aid Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression, further solidified by a long-term security agreement between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signed in February.

The agreement underscores the strategic partnership and mutual commitment to peace and stability in the region. The provision of such extensive support is crucial as Ukraine continues to face significant challenges on the battlefield, exacerbated by continuous Russian military operations. By bolstering Ukraine’s defensive and offensive capabilities, Germany aims to contribute effectively to Ukraine’s resilience and its ability to maintain sovereignty over its territory.

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