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German defense minister arrives in Odesa, announces $542 million aid package for Ukraine

by Kateryna Denisova May 30, 2024 10:33 PM 2 min read
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius during an unannounced visit to Kyiv, Ukraine on Nov. 21, 2023. (Vitalii Nosach /Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth 500 million euros ($542 million) on May 30 during an unannounced visit to the port city of Odesa, Berliner Zeitung reported.

Pistorius arrived at a time when Kyiv is raising pressure on its allies, urging them to lift restrictions on the use of Western-provided weapons against military targets inside Russia. Berlin repeatedly opposed the idea due to fears this would lead to an escalation of the war.

The new package will reportedly include ammunition for Iris-T air defense systems and shorter-range SLS missiles, as well as reconnaissance drones, 1 million rounds of small arms ammunition, Leopard 1 battle tanks, and Marder armored vehicles.

Berlin will also send to Ukraine spare parts for artillery systems and Leopard battle tanks, Pistorius said. Some of the materials are about to be delivered, he added.

“We will continue to support you in this defensive struggle,” the German minister said during a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umerov.

This marks Pistorius' third visit to Ukraine since the outbreak of the full-scale war in February 2022.

The trip to Odesa was not announced in advance due to security reasons as Russia intensified its air strikes and launched the offensive in the country's east, the newspaper wrote. The minister previously visited Kyiv in November 2023.

Pistorius said in mid-May that Berlin would supply Ukraine with an additional Patriot air defense system without specifying the delivery date. Kyiv is also expected to receive another Iris-T air defense system.

Initially a hesitant partner, Berlin has become Ukraine's second-largest military donor after the U.S., although Scholz is still reluctant to supply some key capabilities, namely Taurus long-range missiles.

Berlin plans to up its military aid to Ukraine by another 3.8 billion euros ($4.13 billion) in 2024, Reuters reported on May 21, citing its unnamed source.

Germany delivers Leopard 1 tanks, drones, ammunition, other aid to Ukraine
Berlin has handed over 10 Leopard 1 A5 tanks, four Wisent 1 demining tanks, 1.8 million rounds of small arms ammunition, a Dachs armored engineer vehicle, and other aid in its latest delivery of military aid to Ukraine, the German government said on May 22.

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