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19 Mar, 2024 18:23

Germany announces €500 million military aid package for Ukraine

Berlin will raid its own stocks and buy ammo from foreign suppliers to keep Kiev fighting, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has said
Germany announces €500 million military aid package for Ukraine

Germany will supply Ukraine with €500 million ($543 million) worth of weapons and ammunition, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced on Tuesday. Despite shortages of manpower and ammo at home, Berlin has pledged to spend €7 billion on military aid for Kiev this year.

“We have once again put together an aid package worth almost half a billion euros,” Pistorius told reporters at a meeting of the so-called Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base on Tuesday.

The package will include 10,000 artillery shells from Bundeswehr (German military) stocks, with deliveries to begin “immediately,” Pistorius said. 100 infantry vehicles and 100 unarmored vehicles will also be sent, the minister added.

Germany will also purchase 180,000 shells from non-EU suppliers as part of a larger initiative led by the Czech Republic, and another 100,000 directly from defense contractors, Pistorius announced.

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, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in February.

Scholz and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a “long-term” security pact last month, under which the German chancellor pledged to give Ukraine an additional €7 billion in military aid this year, and continue arming Kiev for the next decade.

However, this outlay has hurt Germany’s own military readiness. A parliamentary report published last week identified shortages of ammunition, spare parts, tanks, ships, and aircraft, as well as an aging and shrinking workforce.

While these issues predated the conflict in Ukraine, the report found that they have become “even greater” since Scholz began pulling weapons and equipment from German stocks to send to Kiev. Despite Scholz’ announcement of a €100 billion rearmament program in 2022, German soldiers told the New York Times last year that they still lack adequate ammo for training exercises, live in substandard barracks, and have not gotten to fire the Bundeswehr’s latest howitzers, all of which have been sent to Ukraine.