Germany’s defense minister resigns amid criticism over handling of Ukraine war


German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced her resignation on Monday after a series of public blunders, writing in a letter to Chancellor Olaf Scholz that “months of media focus on my person” have prevented her from effectively leading the military. 

Lambrecht, 57, had been defense minister since December 2021 when Sholz became chancellor. She previously served as the minister of justice and minister for families and women. 

“The valuable work of the soldiers and many people in my department must stand in the foreground,” she wrote in the resignation letter to Scholz, which he accepted. 

Forer German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht talk with soldiers during a presentation at the ‘Erzgebirgskaserne’ barracks in Marienberg, Eastern Germany, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. 
(Robert Michael/dpa via AP)

Her resignation comes as Germany faces mounting pressure from allies to step up its military support for Ukraine, with Poland’s prime minister calling on the German government to provide Leopard 2 battle tanks and other arms to Kyiv on Monday. 

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Germany has provided howitzers, Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, and other military support to Ukraine over the past 11 months, most recently announcing that it will send 40 Marder armored personnel carriers and a Patriot air defense missile battery.

A new Leopard 2 A7V heavy battle tank Bundeswehr's 9th Panzer Training Brigade stands during a visit by Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht to the Bundeswehr Army training grounds on February 07, 2022, in Munster, Germany. 

A new Leopard 2 A7V heavy battle tank Bundeswehr’s 9th Panzer Training Brigade stands during a visit by Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht to the Bundeswehr Army training grounds on February 07, 2022, in Munster, Germany. 
(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The resignation also comes ahead of a Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting later this week at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to host a meeting of allies. 

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Lambrecht’s replacement has not been announced. Scholz promised to have gender parity in his cabinet, meaning that he will likely appoint a woman to fill Lambrecht’s role. 

Soldiers of the Bundeswehr's Panzergrenadierbrigade 37 mechanized infantry unit demonstrate the capabilities of the Marder infantry fighting vehicle (Schuetzenpanzer Marder) during a visit by German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht on December 12, 2022, in Marienberg, Germany. 

Soldiers of the Bundeswehr’s Panzergrenadierbrigade 37 mechanized infantry unit demonstrate the capabilities of the Marder infantry fighting vehicle (Schuetzenpanzer Marder) during a visit by German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht on December 12, 2022, in Marienberg, Germany. 
(Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

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Scholz, meanwhile, has defended his government’s “calm, well-considered and careful” decision-making when it comes to military support for Ukraine. 

“It always remains the case that we act in close consultation and weigh every step carefully,” Scholz said on Friday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 





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