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Germany passes 2024 budget providing over $8 billion in military aid for Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 3, 2024 11:23 AM 2 min read
The Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, on Jan. 31, 2024. (Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Germany's parliament approved on Feb. 2 the country's budget for this year, including 7.6 billion euros ($8.2 billion) in military assistance for Kyiv.

Initially criticized for its sluggish delivery of military aid to Ukraine following the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Germany has become the second-largest provider of military equipment after the U.S.

The budget calls for a total spending of 476.8 billion euros ($515 billion). The defense budget for 2024 is set at 52 billion euros ($56 billion), in addition to 19 billion euros ($20.5 billion) from the special fund for the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr).

The proposal was supported by 388 lawmakers in the Bundestag, the lower chamber of the parliament, with 279 voting against it. It was passed by the upper chamber, the Bundesrat, soon after.

"I welcome the German Bundestag's approval of 7.6 billion euros in military aid to Ukraine in the 2024 budget. I appreciate that our agreements with (Chancellor Olaf Scholz) are being implemented," President Volodymyr Zelensky said on the social media platform X.

"My special thanks to Bundesrat and 16 lands for the important political resolution in support of Ukraine as Russia's full-scale invasion approaches the two-year mark."

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Dennis Rohde, a German lawmaker of the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD), praised the budget and its contribution to Ukraine's struggle for freedom.

The budget received criticism from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, known for its amicable views toward the Kremlin. Peter Boehringer, an AfD lawmaker, said there would be "no debt" for the war in Ukraine if AfD were in charge.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced already in November 2023 that Berlin plans to double its aid for Ukraine for the following year, going from 4 billion euros to 8 billion.

"This is a strong signal to Ukraine, showing we are not giving up on it," Pistorius said at the time as support from another crucial donor, the U.S., remains in gridlock due to political disputes largely unrelated to Ukraine.

Just as Germany is ramping up its military support, Scholz criticized other EU countries that they are not providing as much as they can to assist Ukraine's defense efforts.

According to the German Defense Ministry, the funds allocated to military support for Ukraine between February 2022 and December 2023 amounted to 5.66 billion euros ($6.1 billion). In comparison, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy calculated that the real extent of Germany's defense assistance amounted to as much as 17.1 billion euros ($18.5 billion).

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