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11 Oct, 2022 17:23

Ukraine gets highly anticipated arms from Germany – Spiegel

Kiev has received the IRIS-T air defense system even before Berlin’s own military
Ukraine gets highly anticipated arms from Germany – Spiegel

Ukraine has received the first of four IRIS-T SLM air defense systems from Germany, Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday. With its own weapons stockpiles seriously depleted, Germany is gifting this ultra-modern system to Kiev before its own forces.

The system – which comprises a command vehicle, a radar vehicle, and a truck-mounted launcher capable of firing eight missiles – was handed over to the Ukrainian military next to the Polish-Ukrainian border on Tuesday, the German magazine reported.

The handover took place four days after German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht made an unannounced visit to Ukraine, where she promised her Ukrainian counterpart, Aleksey Reznikov, that his country would receive the IRIS-T “in a few days.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged to provide this system to Ukraine back in June, with delivery initially slated for November.

In an update on Monday, Lambrecht said that Russia’s devastating missile strikes on Ukrainian military and infrastructure targets that morning showed “how important it is to supply Ukraine with air defense systems quickly.”

Berlin has promised Ukraine at least four IRIS-T systems, each of which can supposedly strike incoming missiles up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) away. Ukraine has reportedly asked Germany for at least a dozen of these systems, and offered to purchase them directly from the manufacturer, Diehl Defense.

Germany’s own military has yet to field a single ground-based IRIS-T system, with the remaining three pledged to Ukraine yet to be manufactured, Der Spiegel reported. Germany has faced persistent criticism from Kiev for its supposed hesitance in donating sufficiently heavy weaponry, but the arms it has sent have left its own stocks depleted. 

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned of “absolute deficits” in Germany’s weapons stocks in August, and a report by Business Insider on Saturday revealed that the Bundeswehr (German Army) has only enough ammunition for two days of warfare.