Following the defence minister Christine Lambrecht's resignation, Lower Saxony minister Boris Pistorius will lead the Bundeswehr, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.

Before being appointed interior minister of Lower Saxony, Pistorius served as mayor of Osnabrueck from 2006 to 2013
Before being appointed interior minister of Lower Saxony, Pistorius served as mayor of Osnabrueck from 2006 to 2013 (AFP Archive)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is set to appoint a regional official as the new defence minister following the resignation of the much-criticised Christine Lambrecht.

The defence minister-designate announced on Tuesday, Boris Pistorius, is a member of Scholz’s Social Democratic Party and has served as interior minister of Lower Saxony state since 2013.

“I am very pleased to have won Boris Pistorius, an outstanding politician from our country, for the post of defence minister," Scholz said in a written statement.

"Pistorius is an extremely experienced politician who has administrative experience, has been involved in security policy for years and, with his competence, assertiveness and big heart, is exactly the right person to lead the Bundeswehr through this change of era,” the chancellor added.

Pistorius, 62, is scheduled to receive his certificate of appointment from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and take his oath of office in parliament on Thursday, government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.

Following Lambrecht's resignation on Monday, the chancellor consulted closely with the members of his party and parliamentary group leaders and decided on Pistorius as the new defence minister, Hebestreit said in a written statement.

READ MORE: Four missteps Lambrecht took as Germany’s defence minister

Mounting pressure on Ukraine war

Pistorius is inheriting the job of steering Germany's military modernisation project and overseeing expanding weapons deliveries to Ukraine amid Russia's war.

He also is getting quickly thrown into the deep end of his new position.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is scheduled to visit Berlin this week and then host a meeting of allies at Ramstein Air Base in western Germany.

On Sunday, the German and French governments are expected to hold bilateral talks that include a meeting of the countries’ joint security council.

The German government has faced mounting pressure to make another significant step forward in German military aid to Ukraine by agreeing to deliver Leopard 2 battle tanks.

Earlier this month, the government agreed to provide 40 Marder armoured personnel carriers and a Patriot air defence missile battery to Kiev.

Germany has given Ukraine substantial support in recent months, including howitzers, Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns and the first of four IRIS-T surface-to-air missile systems.

But critics, some inside Germany’s governing coalition, have long complained of Scholz’s perceived hesitancy to step up aid.

READ MORE: Is Germany intentionally dithering over arms supplies to Ukraine?

Source: AP