Germany announced it will send additional air defense systems to Ukraine to protect its grain shipments from Russian attacks, Bloomberg reported on Oct. 4.
The equipment sent will include one additional IRIS-T defense system and more than a dozen anti-aircraft Gepard installations. These systems are set to arrive in Ukraine by the end of 2023, and aim to safeguard grain headed to Romania.
Russia has targeted Ukraine’s grain sector, a critical component of the country’s economy, multiple times in recent months. This comes following Russia’s recent withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which helped send Ukrainian food exports to food insecure regions around the world.
President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of weaponizing food insecurity, as millions of people are dependent on Ukrainian grain exports.
“The terrorist state has endangered the lives of 400 million people in various countries that depend on Ukrainian food exports,” Zelensky said in a tweet following the announcement.
In a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin advised Ukraine defense allies to offer additional defense systems to Ukraine.
“I urge allies and partners to dig deep and donate whatever air defense munitions they can as Ukraine heads into another winter of war,” Austin said.