Slovakia is not allowing German howitzers to cross border from Ukraine for repairs for several weeks

Slovakia has been not allowing German-made weapons from Ukraine to enter its country, which are to be repaired there, for several weeks now.

Source: Business Insider; European Pravda

Details: In mid-December, Kraus-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), on behalf of the German Armed Forces, set up a repair center near the Slovak city of Michalovce on the border with Ukraine to repair broken howitzers, Gepard anti-aircraft guns, or MARS systems.

But Slovakia is not allowing the weapons to cross the border and reach the repair center, referring to unresolved legal issues, including import duties.

Business Insider says that 15 self-propelled howitzers that don’t work are waiting in vehicles at the Slovak border to go on their way. Heavy artillery on the Ukrainian side is extremely important for defense.

To at least partially defuse the situation, the German Defense Ministry is said to occasionally transport weapons through neighboring EU countries, which means not only hundreds of kilometers of detours but above all a significant loss of repair time. MARS launchers and Gepard tanks will also be partially repaired in Germany.

Even though the relevant government agreement is in place, it is not clear why Slovakia is acting this way. Due to how quickly the agreement was made at the end of last year, the German side admits that some legal issues about the repair center were not taken into account.

On the other hand, new elections are to be held in Slovakia after the government was dismissed in a vote of no confidence in December. Since then, the country has been experiencing a government crisis and an unclear power situation. The left-wing opposition is considered more pro-Russian.

After the federal government had tried to help in different ways, Chancellor Olaf Scholz stepped in. Acting Prime Minister Eduard Heger told Scholz over the phone last week that the problem would be solved quickly.

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