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German vice-chancellor visits Kyiv as German delegation promises new IRIS-T delivery shortly

by Martin Fornusek April 18, 2024 5:13 PM 2 min read
German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck (L) and Ukraine's Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko (R) in Kyiv on April 18, 2024. (German Economy and Environment Ministry/X)
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German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck arrived in Kyiv on the morning of April 18 for talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top Ukrainian officials.

This is the vice-chancellor's second trip to Ukraine since the start of the full-scale war. Habeck told the media that his visit meant to demonstrate that Germany's support "is not a one-time or short-term thing" but a firm commitment to Ukraine for as long as needed.

Habeck, who is also Germany's economy and environment minister, was accompanied by a business delegation that included Helmut Rauch, the head of Germany's Diehl Defense company that manufactures IRIS-T air defense systems.

In a comment for the German magazine Bild, Rauch said: "Three of our systems are already in Ukraine, and more will be delivered this year. The next one is just a few weeks away."

Kyiv has been increasingly calling on its partners to provide additional air defenses, like Patriot or IRIS-T systems, as Russia intensifies its strikes on Ukraine's cities and infrastructure.

Berlin has recently announced the delivery of an additional Patriot system to Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky said shortly after that Kyiv is in talks with Germany for an additional IRIS-T air defense system.

Germany has previously provided IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukraine, including three IRIS-T SLM systems, with a range of up to 40 kilometers, and one IRIS-T SLS, with a range of up to 12 kilometers.

Germany to send additional Patriot air defense system, missiles to Ukraine
Berlin will provide Ukraine with one more Patriot air defense system amid intensified Russian attacks, the German Defense Ministry announced on April 13.
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