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16 Feb, 2024 21:05

Germany and Ukraine sign ‘long term’ security deal

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said the agreement proves his country will join NATO
Germany and Ukraine sign ‘long term’ security deal

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky have signed a security pact under which Berlin will supply Kiev with military and economic aid for another ten years.

Inked on Friday, the agreement commits Germany to providing “unwavering support for Ukraine for as long as it takes in order to help Ukraine defend itself” and restore its 1991 borders. In addition to retaking the regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye, this feat would also involve the seizure of Crimea from Russia, which some American officials and Kiev’s former military chief view as next to impossible.

On top of military aid, the plan binds Germany to training Ukrainian police officers, transferring weapons manufacturing technology, paying for green energy projects, and a range of other efforts to help the Ukrainian government “continue providing services to its people”

Speaking at a ceremony in Berlin, Zelensky said that the details of the agreement “are very specific and involve long-term support,” and that the pact proves that one day “Ukraine will be in NATO.”

Germany is Ukraine’s second-largest Western backer, behind only the US. To date, Berlin has given Kiev €22 billion ($23.7 billion) in assistance, including €17.7 billion in military aid, according to figures compiled by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. When aid transferred via the EU is included, Germany has handed over a total of €28 billion to Ukraine, Scholz said on Friday.

In addition to signing the decade-long pledge to Ukraine, Scholz announced a new package of military aid worth €1.1 billion. It will include 36 self-propelled howitzers, 120,000 artillery shells, and additional ammunition for Ukraine’s German-provided Iris-T air defense systems.

Germany’s outlay has hurt its own military readiness, with the New York Times reporting in November that training exercises are routinely canceled due to ammunition shortages, while German soldiers have yet to fire their latest howitzers, all of which have been sent to Ukraine.

Scholz’s decision to sanction Russian energy imports has also hammered the German economy, with industrial output falling by 2% last year, while the entire economy shrank by 0.3% in the same time period, according to the country’s Federal Statistical Office. One in three German manufacturers is currently considering moving abroad, Federation of German Industries (BDI) chief Siegfried Russwurm told Bild on Saturday, citing persistent inflation and high energy costs.