kyiv — German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius arrived in kyiv on Tuesday with a much-needed gift: more military aid to Ukraine.
“I have the honor to announce a new package,” Pistorius said at a press conference in kyiv. It includes four other IRIS-T medium-range missile systems, 155-millimeter munitions and Panzer anti-tank defense mines, it said.
“In total, this is a package worth 1.3 billion euros, and I am sure it will help you and your fight against Russian aggression. We stand in solidarity with Ukraine,” Pistorius said.
Although the European Union is unlikely to meet its self-imposed deadline to deliver 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by March 2024, Pistorius said the German government had added 20,000 additional 155 mm artillery shells to the 140,000 already announced for next year.
“In total, 160,000 for next year – and this number will hopefully increase in 2025,” Pistorius added.
Asked whether Ukraine would get the long-range German Taurus missiles it has long wanted, Pistorius simply shrugged his shoulders and said there was no new information. Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said with a laugh: “We are still working on it. No decision regarding Taurus has been made yet.
Pistorius arrived in Kiev the day after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also reassured those present that the US would continue to support Ukraine, announced new military aid worth 100 million dollars in Kiev.
German funding for Ukraine’s defense amounts to 5.4 billion euros for 2023, after 2 billion euros in 2022. The German government planned to double its aid plan for Ukraine for 2024 , from 4 to 8 billion euros; However, Germany’s current budget crisis has cast doubt on this.
Umerov thanked Germany for its contribution to Ukraine’s air defense and the training of its military personnel. He emphasized how air defense systems are critical to Ukraine’s ability to keep its economy running and boost its own defense production.
During his visit, Pistorius also visited a military training ground and observed the Ukrainian crew operating the Patriot anti-missile complex supplied by Germany to Ukraine. “Very impressive for me,” Pistorius concluded.