German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht resigned on Monday after a series of gaffes cast doubt on her ability to revive the country’s long-neglected armed forces.
“Today I asked the chancellor to dismiss me from the office of federal minister of defense,” said Lambrecht.
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“The months-long media focus on my person hardly allows for objective reporting and discussion about servicemen and women... and security policy decisions in the interest of the citizens of Germany,” she said.
Lambrecht, 57, had been under fire for months over Germany’s stuttering response to the war in Ukraine.
The politician from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD party was then heavily criticized over a New Year’s video posted on social media.
In the clip she lauded her “special experiences” as defense minister in 2022 against a backdrop of loud fireworks.
Leading German media blasted the tone-deaf message, with some commentators saying she was “no longer tenable as a minister.”
Rumors had since been swirling that she was planning to hand in her resignation.
There was no immediate news of her successor.
Lambrecht’s move comes at a crucial time, with Germany and other Western allies under increasing pressure to deliver battle tanks to Ukraine.
The Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which coordinates arms supplies to Kyiv, is due to meet this week at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 marked a big turning point in German defense policy, with Scholz announcing a 100-billion-euro ($108-billion) fund to upgrade the army, known as the Bundeswehr.
After years of chronic underinvestment, Scholz in September vowed to transform the country’s military into the “best equipped” in Europe.
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