The German defence minister, Christine Lambrecht, has resigned after growing doubt was cast on her ability to lead the country in reviving its long-neglected armed forces against the backdrop of the Ukraine war.
“Today I asked the chancellor to dismiss me from the office of federal minister of defence,” Lambrecht, a member of Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), said in the statement.
Scholz is under pressure to approve an increase in international military support for Kyiv to help it repel Russian forces from Ukraine.
Lambrecht has been blamed for failing to get the Bundeswehr back in shape quickly despite a €100bn special fund being agreed on for that purpose after Russia invaded Ukraine.
The long-running debate over the state of Germany’s defence capabilities intensified last month when several Puma infantry tanks were put out of service during a recent military drill.
She was recently criticised by media and opposition figures for posting an outdoor video on social media on New Year’s Day in which she thanked servicemen and women, but struggled to be heard against background noise from firecrackers and seemingly mixed up the war in Ukraine with pleasant personal encounters.
“What kind of a year was 2022? It faced us with many incredible challenges. There is a war raging in the middle of Europe. Associated with this were for me many special impressions, many encounters with interesting, great people,” Lambrecht said in the video.
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