Christine Lambrecht spoke at a conference at the U.S. base in Ramstein, Germany, attended by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austion, NATO Secretary General Jens Stotenberg and a large number of European Union defense ministers.
Portuguese Minister Helena Carreiras will participate in a video conference.
The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine.
“I am delighted that this meeting will send a strong signal about Ukraine’s security, and I am glad that this initiative, dear (Austin) Lloyd, is taking place in Germany,” Lambrecht said in a speech to the US Chief of Defense.
The German defense minister referred to the “brutality” of Russian forces and stressed the need for “coordinated” assistance to Ukraine.
In this context, Lambrecht recalled that the increase in the German military budget would allow the creation of a special fund of EUR 100 million for defense expenditure.
The Berlin government today confirmed permission to send Gepard tanks manufactured by Krauss Maffei Wegmann (KMW) to Kiev.
“In the face of war and brutal aggression, we have moved away from a policy of restricting arms exports to conflict zones, especially to help Ukraine. It was not an easy one, but it was a decision that was supported by the majority of our population,” the German defense minister said.
The first step, Lambrecht said, was to send munitions from the German army, namely anti-aircraft missiles.
The Minister revealed that the decision to send tanks includes training of the Ukrainian army in the use of certain types of weapons on German soil.
According to the German minister, the first measure with the Russian head of state is cohesion, so assistance to Kiev must be coordinated.
“(Vladimir) Putin thought that the Western allies resigned with the war. The exact opposite happened. The diplomatic alliance guarantees resistance and appeal to the rule of law and covers the whole world,” the minister said.
Lambrecht said Germany is helping Ukraine by sending weapons, ammunition and humanitarian goods.
“Germany has been criticized. But the figures say something else,” he declared, citing “international unity.”
Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine on February 24, and according to the UN, the actual numbers are likely to be much higher.
The organization also revealed that the military attack has already caused more than 12 million people to flee, more than five million of whom have fled the country.