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Germany pledges €500 million in arms support for Ukraine

May 30, 2024

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced a new arms package for Ukraine focusing on air defense and including 1 million rounds of small arms ammunition.

A IRIS-T SLM system. Undated archive image.
Germany has pledged more ammunition for Ukrainian air defense systems Image: Sebastian Gollnow/dpa/picture alliance

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced a new package of arms support for Ukraine worth €500 million ($542 million) during an unannounced visit to the port city of Odesa on Thursday. 

The new German arms package was unveiled by Pistorius alongside Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov. 

Pistorius' third visit to Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in 2022, comes as Ukrainian forces are under pressure from a renewed Russian offensive in the northeast, combined with heavy airstrikes on Ukrainian cities.

A top request by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from Ukraine's allies has been more ammunition for air defense systems.

"We will continue to support you in this defensive campaign," said at a meeting with Umerov on Thursday evening in Odesa.

Pistorius added that some of the materials were already about to be delivered.

Boris Pistorius points in a trench
Pistorius and Umerov pictured in a defensive trenchImage: Jörg Blank/dpa/picture alliance

Ukrainian Defense Minister Umerov stressed the importance of further arms deliveries by allies.

"Our partners must supply us with weapons so that we can push the enemy back behind the internationally recognized borders [of Ukraine]," he said. 

What is included in the German aid package?

The package includes ammunition for for the IRIS-T-SLM medium-range air defense system, and shorter range SLS missiles. 

The IRIS-T SLM can defend from approaching missiles at an altitude of up to 20 kilometers and a distance up to 40 kilometers. Spare parts and replacement barrels for the artillery systems are also to be provided.

Other items include 1 million rounds of small arms ammunition.

Ukrainian troops on the frontlines widespread continue to suffer from ammunition shortages after a critical aid package was held up in the US Congress for more than 6 months. Although the $61 billion (€57 billion) package was pushed through in April, weapons and munitions have yet to reach the front lines in large numbers.

Germany is the second-largest provider of arms to Ukraine after the US.

Ukraine asks NATO for air defenses against Russian attack

wmr/msh (AFP, dpa)