German defense minister resigns amid uproar over Ukraine gaffes

Germany's Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has announced her resignation after facing strong criticism over her remarks about Ukraine.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday accepted her offer to step down and stressed he will quickly choose a successor.

German media and opposition parties had criticized Lambrecht over what many perceived as an ill-judged New Year video message that she posted on social media.

Against a backdrop of New Year's Eve fireworks in Berlin, she says, "A war is raging in the middle of Europe. And that meant a lot of special impressions for me that I was able to gain. Many, many encounters with interesting, great people."

This was not the first time Lambrecht courted controversy over her communication blunders.

In January 2022, shortly before the start of the Russian invasion, Lambrecht was slammed for announcing that Germany would deliver 5,000 military helmets to Ukraine, and saying it was a "very clear signal: we stand by your side."

In April, she drew flak for taking her adult son with her on a military helicopter flight.

US and European nations are due to meet in Germany on Friday to discuss military support for Ukraine. Britain has already decided to provide battle tanks.

Analysts are waiting to see if the defense minister's resignation influences how Germany decides the question of whether to send its own armored tanks to Ukraine.