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Germany pledges €700 million in new arms aid to Ukraine

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Germany pledges €700 million in new arms aid to Ukraine
Defence Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) in a Leopard tank a military base in Augustdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Federico Gambarini

Germany, Ukraine's second biggest supplier of arms to resist the Russian invasion, pledged another €700 million in military assistance to Kyiv on Tuesday at a pivotal NATO summit.

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Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said at the gathering in Vilnius that the new package "served Ukraine's priorities: air defence, tanks, artillery".

Germany in May had already announced a new weapons package worth 2.7 billion euros for Ukraine, ahead of a visit by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The new aid valued at nearly €700 million includes two Patriot missile system launchers, another 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and 25 Leopard 1 tanks as well as 20,000 artillery rounds and 5,000 rounds of smoke ammunition.

The defence ministry said in a statement it would also send an "extensive package" for reconnaissance and drone defence, a Luna drone system and two military transport aircraft.

The equipment comes from existing supplies of the Bundeswehr armed forces as well as output from partner manufacturers.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, Germany has dropped a traditionally pacifist stance and sent a vast array of weaponry to Kyiv, from air defence to artillery systems. It is now Ukraine's second largest arms supplier after the United States.

READ ALSO: Germany to meet NATO's 2 percent spending goal 'starting next year'

Berlin earlier this year started sending advanced Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, after months of pleas from Kyiv for the heavy weapons to bolster its fightback against Russia.

Ukrainian and German politicians have been calling for rapid resupply of tanks given destruction of the armaments by Russian forces.

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The two-day summit is set to be dominated by the alliance's response to Russia's war on Ukraine and Kyiv's push for NATO membership.

A senior government official on Monday had said that Germany would make a "very substantial" new pledge of military equipment for Ukraine at the meeting.

READ ALSO: Germany should not 'block' US sending cluster munitions to Ukraine, says president

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