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Germany announces record $3 billion in military aid for Ukraine

German soldiers load Marder armored vehicles on a train at the troop exercise area in Grafenwoehr, Germany, on Feb. 21, 2017. (Armin Weigel/DPA/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Germany is preparing new military aid for Ukraine worth more than 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion), including tanks and anti-aircraft systems, the country’s defense ministry said ahead of a possible visit by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“We are once again showing that Germany is serious about its support,” said German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. “Germany will provide all the help it can — as long as it takes,” he added.

Berlin’s biggest package so far will include material from the areas of artillery, air defense and armored combat vehicles, to be delivered over the coming weeks and months. The announcement comes days after the U.K. said it would provide long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine — which Russia claimed on Saturday had already been deployed.

Andriy Yermak, Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, said on Telegram that Berlin would also provide four Iris-T air defense systems, 20 Marder armored personnel carriers, 200 reconnaissance drones, 100 armored vehicles and a large quantity of munitions, among other items.

Zelenskyy will reportedly travel to Berlin after visiting Rome on Saturday, where he’s meeting with Pope Francis and Italy’s president and prime minister.

His plans for Germany haven’t been confirmed by Ukraine’s government. The Ukrainian leader is due to be awarded the prestigious Charlemagne Prize in the German city of Aachen on Sunday on behalf of the Ukrainian people.

The German aid announcement came as Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, in Stockholm to meet with European counterparts, urged allies to speed up weapons deliveries to Kyiv.

“Instead of asking when the counteroffensive will begin, ask: have I done enough for the Ukrainian counteroffensive to begin and to be successful?” Kuleba said upon entering the meeting.

Yermak, writing in Der Spiegel this week, praised Germany’s commitment during the almost 15-month-old Russian invasion, and pushed for Ukrainian membership in NATO as a way to “avoid an endless war.”

“The truth is: if the federal government and Chancellor Olaf Scholz had personally done less, Ukraine would be in a much worse position today,” Yermak wrote.

Russia’s defense ministry said in an update on Saturday that Ukraine had used the new long range-missiles from the U.K. to strike occupied Luhansk on Friday. U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said this week that the Storm Shadows would be used to push back Russian troops “within Ukrainian sovereign territory.”


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