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German defense minister announces €1.3B weapons package during visit to Kyiv

German defense minister announces €1.3B weapons package during visit to Kyiv

by host

KYIV — German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday bearing a much-needed gift: more military aid for Ukraine.

“I have the honor to announce a new package,” Pistorius said during a press conference in Kyiv. It includes another four systems of IRIS-T medium-range missiles, 155-millimeter ammunition, and Panzer anti-tank defense mines, he clarified.

“Altogether it is a package worth €1.3 billion euros, and I am quite sure this will help you and your fight against Russian aggression. We stand with Ukraine reliably,” Pistorius said.

Although the European Union will likely miss its self-imposed deadline to deliver 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by March 2024, Pistorius said that the German government included an additional 20,000 155-mm artillery shells to its already announced 140,000 for next year.

“Altogether 160,000 for next year — with the number increasing, I hope, in 2025,” Pistorius added.

When asked about whether Ukraine will get the long-range German Taurus missiles it has long desired, Pistorius only shrugged and said there was no new information. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said with laughter, “We are still working on it. No decision on Taurus has been made yet.”

Pistorius came to Kyiv the day after United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also reassured those present that the U.S. will keep supporting Ukraine, announced a new $100 million military aid package to Kyiv.

German funding for Ukraine’s defense amounts to €5.4 billion for 2023 — after €2 billion in 2022. The German government had been planning to double its 2024 aid plan for Ukraine from €4 billion to €8 billion; however, Germany’s current budget crisis has thrown this into doubt.

Umerov thanked Germany for its contribution to Ukraine’s air defense and training of its military personnel. He emphasized how air defense systems are key to Ukraine’s ability to keeping the economy running and boosting its own defense production.

On his visit, Pistorius also toured a military training ground and observed Ukrainian crew operating the Patriot anti-missile complex Germany provided to Ukraine. “Very impressive for me,” Pistorius concluded.

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