Germany has today announced a major new consignment of military aid to Ukraine, boosting its contribution after months of pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to speed up the delivery of vital battlefield hardware.
The government in Berlin said this morning it was preparing a new €2.7 billion military aid package for Ukraine, including the delivery of many tanks, armour and air defence systems.
"We all want a rapid end to this atrocious war by Russia against the Ukrainian people," German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said in a statement. "That is why Germany will provide all the help it can, for as long as necessary."
The deliveries will include 30 additional Leopard-1 A5 tanks, 20 new Marder armoured vehicles and more than 100 other smaller armoured vehicles, as well as 200 surveillance drones, four new Iris-T air defence systems and their launch platforms, numerous missiles for air defence, 18 Howitzer guns, and ammunition.
Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhaïlo Podoliak celebrated the announcement, tweeting that along with other recent contributions from western governments, the German consignment"directly indicates that the war would be brought to the right end; the Russian Federation is bound to lose and sit on the bench of historical shame; the Russian Federation no longer frightens anyone; [and] only providing weapons to Ukraine would allow peace to return to predictable and stable development."
Western countries have angered Moscow in recent days by announcing enhanced military aid to Ukraine as the country lays the groundwork for a counteroffensive against Russian forces.
When the UK announced it will be supplying Ukraine with long-range Storm Shadow cruise missiles, the Kremlin condemned it as an "extremely hostile" measure, accusing London of seeking a "serious escalation" of the conflict.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is currently visiting Rome for talks with Italian leaders as well as Pope Francis, who is reportedly embarked on a diplomatic effort to strike some sort of peace agreement.
Media reports say Zelenskyy is expected to travel to Berlin on Sunday to receive the European Charlemagne Prize.