July 19, 2024

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s aid for Ukraine will be “massively expanded” next year, the foreign minister said Monday as Kyiv heads into its second winter since Russia launched its full-scale invasion.

Germany has become one of Ukraine’s top military suppliers since the war started in February 2022, sending material that includes tanks, armored personnel carriers, air defense systems and Patriot missile systems.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said as she arrived Monday at a meeting with European Union counterparts that, even as Europe grapples with the war between Israel and Hamas, it’s still important to “face the geopolitical challenge here.”

She said that will include helping Ukraine through the coming winter months and “our support will be massively expanded for next year.”

Over the weekend, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported that Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s governing coalition wants to increase Germany’s military aid for 2024 from the 4 billion euros initially planned to 8 billion euros ($8.5 billion). It said parliament’s budget committee will need to sign off on the plan later this week.

Officials haven’t confirmed that. But, asked about the report in an interview Sunday with ARD television, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius rejected the suggestion that it’s due to fears the U.S. could reduce its support.

Pistorius said that, based on this year’s experiences, the idea was to avoid having to seek more funding if the money available is used up quickly.

“Right now, as Ukraine has to continue its fight and at the same time part of public attention worldwide is directed more toward Israel, this is a strong signal to Ukraine that we won’t leave it in the lurch,” he said.

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