June 19, 2024

PARIS — Germany will send about €1 billion (U.S. $1.1 billion) worth of air defense systems to Ukraine as part of a second “winter package” for the embattled country, the German Defence Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

The support will include a Patriot air defense system and two IRIS-T surface-to-air systems, as well as 10 more Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks, three Gepard anti-aircraft guns, armored trucks and ambulances, in addition to more than €20 million in kit specifically for Ukraine’s special forces.

The latest support follows a €400 million package for Ukraine announced in September that included ammunition, mine-resistant combat vehicles and drones. After initial reluctance to provide Ukraine with military aid following Russia’s invasion of the country, Germany has now overtaken the U.K. and Poland in terms of support, with only the U.S. providing more equipment.

“I’m grateful to Germany for today’s large military aid package,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “As winter approaches, this is exactly the support we need.”

The new package includes a second Patriot air defense system to be supplied by Germany, including a fire control unit, radar array and eight launchers, as well as more than 60 missiles, the ministry said. The equipment will come directly from the German military’s stocks, and the country plans to start training Ukrainian personnel on the system in the coming weeks.

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Germany will also supply Ukraine with a third IRIS-T system with medium-range missiles, plus a second IRIS-T for short-range defense, also with missiles, with delivery to take place this month.

The announcement comes ahead of a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, the alliance of countries backing Ukraine with military equipment.

“To protect critical infrastructure at the onset of winter and to provide further military support, Germany is supplying Ukraine with additional air defense,” German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said. “With this new `winter package’ we are further increasing the operational readiness of the Ukrainian armed forces in coming months.”

Germany had promised Zelenskyy last week it would deliver Ukraine a second Patriot system, while the delivery of further IRIS-T systems fulfils commitments made in a prior month, the ministry noted.

The additional Leopard 1 tanks and Gepard guns, 15 armored transport vehicles, and 20 armored ambulances will arrive in Ukraine in the coming weeks, the ministry said. Germany said more 155mm ammunition is currently being supplied.

Germany said a total of 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers will have been trained in the country by the end of 2023.

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