Russian war of aggression: Federal government: Arms package worth billions for Ukraine

Germany wants to almost double arms aid for Ukraine in view of the expected spring offensive against the Russian attackers.

The federal government has promised Ukraine further arms deliveries worth 2.7 billion euros ahead of a possible visit to Germany by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Among other things, 20 more Marder armored personnel carriers, 30 Leopard 1 tanks and 4 Iris-T-SLM anti-aircraft systems are to be provided, as the Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday in Berlin.

According to the ministry, it is about the delivery of further weapons worth around 2.7 billion euros by Germany. This would almost double German arms aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the war in February 2022: since the beginning of the war, the federal government has approved arms deliveries worth 2.75 billion euros. Germany is thus one of the most important supporters of Ukraine – both militarily and financially.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) commented on the new weapons package: “With this valuable contribution of urgently needed military material, we are showing once again that Germany is serious about its support.” Everyone wished for an early end to Russia’s terrible and illegal war against the Ukrainian people. “Unfortunately, this is not yet foreseeable. Therefore, Germany will provide all the help it can – as long as it takes” – as long as it is necessary, Pistorius added. First, the “Spiegel” reported on the planned new weapon package.

Zelenskyj’s visit to Germany still open

It was initially unclear on Saturday whether Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) could receive Selenskyj in Berlin at the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, Selenskyj and the Ukrainian people will be honored in Aachen with the Charlemagne Prize for services to European unity. Scholz will hold the laudatory speech – even if Selenskyj cannot be there himself. Other speakers include EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Ukrainian President expected in Rome

Zelenskyj was expected in the Italian capital Rome on Saturday. Initially, only a visit to President Sergio Mattarella was officially confirmed. It was assumed that the guest from Kiev would also meet Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in her official residence, the Palazzo Chigi in the historic center of Rome. An audience with Pope Francis is planned for the afternoon, although not yet officially confirmed by the Holy See. In the evening, Selenskyj is a guest on the TV show “Porta a Porta”, as the broadcaster Rai announced.

MoD: Package follows previous priorities

According to the Ministry of Defence, the new package of measures follows the previous German support priorities. It contains, among other things, material from the areas of artillery, air defense, armored combat vehicles and engineering skills. Among other things, it includes 18 wheeled howitzers, artillery ammunition, guided missiles for air defense systems, 4 IRIS-T SLM fire units for air defense and 12 IRIS-T SLS launch devices.

The package also includes 30 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks and 20 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, more than 100 armored combat vehicles and over 200 reconnaissance drones. “All of this and more comes from industrial stocks or industrial production,” the ministry said. The implementation of the measures decided by the federal government has been initiated.

Leopard, marten and cheetah

Ukraine had already received 18 modern Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks with ammunition from Germany at the end of March. On January 25, after lengthy domestic political wrangling, the federal government announced the goal of “quickly assembling two tank battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine.” In Ukraine, these are usually equipped with 31 tanks each. The main participants in the initiative are Poland, Norway, Canada and Spain.

In addition, Germany has so far delivered 40 Marder armored personnel carriers with ammunition from the Bundeswehr and industrial stocks, as well as 34 anti-aircraft tanks including around 6,000 rounds of anti-aircraft tank ammunition. There are also two armored recovery vehicles and two Wisent armored mine clearance vehicles.

Iris-T anti-aircraft systems

Germany has so far provided Ukraine with two Iris-T SLM air defense systems. The system developed by the Diehl armaments group and other partners is intended to help, among other things, to protect the capital Kiev from Russian air raids.

In April, Germany also handed over the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine for better defense against Russian air attacks. The Bundeswehr had also taken on the training of soldiers in an express program. Patriot (“Phased Array Tracking Radar for Intercept on Target”) is one of the most modern air defense systems in the world. This can be used to combat enemy aircraft, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

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