German defense minister, who faced criticism for the military's rapid modernization program and Berlin's hesitant approach to the conflict in Ukraine, has resigned.
In a written statement released on Monday, Christine Lambrecht said that "months of media attention on my person" had prevented an objective discussion of the military and Germany's security strategy.
"Many employees in my department and the soldiers' great job must stand in the foreground," she remarked.
Recent pressure on Lambrecht increased as a result of a New Year's video message.
It was uploaded to Instagram and showed Lambrecht speaking inaudibly as New Year's Eve revelers set off fireworks behind her on a Berlin street.
In the center of Europe, a war is waging, she declared. And along with that, “I was able to make a lot of unique impressions and meet a lot of fascinating, wonderful individuals, which was tied to that for me.”
Lambrecht's retirement was accepted, according to a spokesman for Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and a replacement will be named soon.
Since Scholz was appointed chancellor in December 2021, the 57-year-old has held the position. Both belong to the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).
Reporting from Berlin, Dominic Kane said Lambrecht's retirement was a "headache" for the chancellor and that the SDP would probably choose her replacement.
In terms of the conflict in Ukraine and Germany's involvement there, Kane stated, "That individual is going to have to get up to speed rather rapidly."
Many things need to be done for whoever becomes the new minister, but a significant shift in German policy driven merely by their appointment is doubtful, according to him.
Lambrecht has long been characterized by critics as being in over her head.
She received criticism for several things, including saying that Germany's January 2017 transfer of 5,000 military helmets to Ukraine was "a very clear indication that we stand by your side."
She flew on a military chopper with her son, age 21, three months later. After he shared a minister's photo on Instagram, the trip turned into a scandal.
Lambrecht's ministry claimed she had requested authorization and paid for the expenses herself, but detractors said her poor decision-making was evident.
She left at a precarious time when Scholz was under pressure to agree to deliver Leopard 2 combat tanks, which would be a substantial advancement in German military assistance to Ukraine.
Since Russia's invasion began in February of last year, Berlin has already generously supported Ukraine militarily. Earlier this month, Berlin also agreed to send Kyiv 40 Marder armored personnel carriers and a Patriot air defense missile battery.
However, detractors, including some members of Germany's ruling coalition, have charged Scholz with being reluctant to increase help.
She was respected in her capacities as the previous justice minister and minister for families and women, but she was largely regarded as one of the Scholz government's weakest links at the defense ministry.
Ministers' reputations have a history of being damaged by the infamously cumbersome department.
With Russia's invasion of Ukraine, its significance grew. This led Scholz to create a special 100 billion euro ($108 billion) fund to modernize the German Bundeswehr, which had been neglected for years and was particularly suffering from outdated, ineffective equipment.
Last month, Lambrecht rejected claims that the government's spending spree had gotten off to a poor start.
Although the government has moved quickly, she claimed that "such initiatives must be thoroughly handled" because "this is tax money."