Germany announces €400 million in military aid to Ukraine

germany announces €400 million in military aid to ukraine

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius speaks at the peace conference to mark the 375th anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia in the Historic City Hall in Munster. Guido Kirchner/dpa

Ahead of an international meeting to support Ukraine, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius on Monday announced a package of €400 million ($427 million) in additional aid for Kiev.

“We are supplying additional ammunition: explosive ammunition, mortar ammunition, mine rockets,” Pistorius told the German tabloid newspaper Bild.

“Because ammunition is what Ukraine needs most in its defensive struggle against the brutal war of aggression,” he said.

“In addition, we will help with protected vehicles and mine-clearing systems. But we also have the approaching winter in mind: We will send clothing, but also power and heat generators.”

He evaded a question about whether Germany would send the much-sought-after Taurus missiles to Ukraine, saying the government is still thinking about it and numerous points need to be clarified.

“In Ramstein, for example, we are looking at whether we can provide even more support in terms of training,” Pistorius said.

Pistorius’ comments came ahead of a meeting of the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group in Ramstein, Germany on Tuesday. US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin will be among those taking part.

Pistorius, however, will not be at the meeting venue – the US air base in Ramstein – due to a Covid-19 infection.

According to an overview by the German government, Germany has earmarked a total of around €5.4 billion for primarily military support for Ukraine this year, up from €2 billion last year. For the following years, there are commitments of around €10.5 billion.

It is unclear whether Pistorius’ announcement represented pledged of new arms or whether some of the aid is already included in a list of planned German support services published online already.

That list includes, in addition to ammunition, some 17 field heaters and mobile mine-clearing systems. The Defence Ministry did not comment on this when asked by dpa.

On the Ukrainian demand for German Taurus cruise missiles, Pistorius said: “The duty of the entire German government is to weigh every arms delivery very carefully” and a multitude of political, legal, military and technical aspects had to be clarified.

“This is not easy. The German government has not yet decided whether to send Taurus cruise missiles.”

On the question of whether Taurus could be deployed without the help of German soldiers, Pistorius said: “This is also one of the questions we are clarifying.”

Meanwhile on the battlefield, the Ukrainian army said it had routed several of the best Russian brigades in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

“In the fighting in the Bakhmut section, some of the enemy’s best units have been crushed and have completely lost their combat power,” the commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, said in a statement on Monday.

The units in question were the 72nd Motor Rifle Brigade and the 31st and 83rd Air Assault Brigades.

Syrskyi said Ukrainian forces were continuing their advance and have had success piercing Russian defence lines, but emphasized that the overall situation on the eastern front was difficult.

The battlefield claims could not be independently verified.

Earlier on Monday at least two people were killed and seven injured in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson in Russian airstrikes, local authorities said.

The Ukrainian military said it had repelled all 17 Ch-101, Ch-555 and Ch-55 cruise missiles and 18 of 24 “kamikaze” drones launched by Moscow’s forces.

In the regional capital, also called Kherson, a 72-year-old man was killed in the attacks. Another person was injured, the head of the regional military administration, Oleksandr Prokudin, said on Telegram.

Meanwhile a woman was killed in a nearby village, he added, while four people were injured in the village of Beryslav to the east of Kherson after a drone struck a bus stop.

A leisure facility in Ukraine’s Danube region near the Romanian border was also hit in the overnight strikes, according to the military.

The Ukrainian army said the drones were launched from the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, as well as from Russia on the western coast of the Sea of Azov. The cruise missiles were said to have been fired over central and western Ukraine.

Off the battlefield the Ukrainian government dismissed another six defence ministry deputies about two weeks after the high-profile removal from office of long-time former defence minister Oleksii Reznikov.

According to a statement by Kiev on Monday, prominent Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar is among those who lost their jobs. Only First Deputy Oleksandr Pavliuk is to remain in office.

“Rebooting. We started. We continue. Ministry continues to work as usual,” the country’s new defence minister, Rustem Umerov, wrote on Facebook.

Scandals surrounding military procurement and bribery at recruitment offices are said to have contributed to his predecessor’s sacking. Reznikov has always denied any wrongdoing.

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