Germany to supply Ukraine with £2.3bn in additional military aid

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Germany will provide Ukraine with additional military aid worth more than 2.7 billion euros (£2.3 billion), including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition, the government has said.

The announcement came as preparations were under way in Berlin for a possible first visit to Germany by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since Russia invaded his country last year.

Defence minister Boris Pistorius said Berlin wants to show with the latest package of arms “that Germany is serious in its support” for Ukraine.

German defence minister Boris Pistorius
German defence minister Boris Pistorius (Matthias Schrader/AP)

While Mr Zelensky’s visit on Sunday has yet to be officially confirmed, it would be a sign that relations between Ukraine and Germany have improved after a rocky patch.

Kyiv has long been suspicious of Germany’s reliance on Russian energy and support for the Nord Stream gas pipelines circumventing Ukraine, defended by then chancellor Angela Merkel.

Her successor Olaf Scholz agreed to phase out Russian energy imports after the invasion but initially hesitated to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, fearing Germany could be drawn into the conflict.

With Washington, Warsaw and London more overtly supportive of Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself, Berlin got the cold diplomatic shoulder from Kyiv.

Zelensky, Macron, Scholz
Volodymyr Zelensky with French President Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz in June last year (Alamy/PA)

Mr Scholz eventually visited Kyiv with French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders in June.

Though slow to provide military aid, Germany has since become one of the biggest suppliers of arms to Ukraine, crucially giving the green light for deliveries of modern battle tanks like its own Leopard 1 and 2, along with sophisticated anti-aircraft systems needed to fend off drone and missile attacks.

The new military aid package, first reported by German weekly Der Spiegel, includes 30 Leopard 1 A5 tanks, 20 Marder armoured personnel carriers, more than 100 combat vehicles, 18 self-propelled Howitzers, 200 reconnaissance drones, four IRIS-T SLM anti-aircraft systems and other air defence equipment.

Germany Ukraine
Leopard 2 tanks (Martin Meissner/AP)

After a meeting at the chancellery, the two leaders are expected to fly to the western city of Aachen, where Mr Zelensky would receive the International Charlemagne Prize awarded to him and the people of Ukraine.

Organisers say the award recognises that their resistance against Russia’s invasion is a defence “not just of the sovereignty of their country and the life of its citizens, but also of Europe and European values”.

Mr Zelensky last visited Berlin in July 2021. He also attended the Munich Security Conference the following February, days before Russia launched its full-scale attack.

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