Berlin, Jan 16 (EFE).- Christine Lambrecht resigned Monday as Germany’s defense minister amid media pressure over her handling of the war in Ukraine, which intensified following a heavily criticized New Year’s eve message.
“Today I asked the chancellor to dismiss me from the office of federal minister of defense,” Lambrecht said in a statement.
“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 added.
The 57-year-old, a member of chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD), has drawn much criticism after posting a New Year’s eve message where she discussed the war in Ukraine to a backdrop of noisy fireworks, with critics calling it “tone deaf”.
Lambrecht had also been condemned by both the media and members of her own party over her handling of the ongoing war in Ukraine, with many criticizing Germany’s initially cautious reaction to Russia’s invasion and hesitant military support for Ukraine.
Shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the defense minister said Germany would send helmets to the country to help defend itself against a possible invasion, an offer that Kyiv’s mayor, Vitali Klitschko, dismissed as “a joke.”
The minister has also been at the heart of a debate over the deployment of German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, with Lambrecht saying last week that no decision had been reached as yet despite urgent calls from Kyiv.
German media have identified Eva Högl, currently serving as the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces, as well as Hubertus Heil, civil engineering minister, Lars Klingbeil, co-leader of the SPD and Siemtje Möller, state secretary for defense as possible successors. EFE