Germany’s government said it would provide Ukraine with additional military aid worth over $3 billion, which includes tanks, anti-aircraft systems, and ammunition.
The announcement follows preparations in Berlin for a possible first visit to Germany by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since Russia invaded his country in 2022.
Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Berlin is showing that “Germany is serious in its support for Ukraine” considering their recent military aid package.
“Germany will provide all the help it can, as long as it takes,” he said.
Although Zelensky’s visit has not been confirmed, it would signal that relations between Ukraine and Germany have improved after initially having a “difficult relationship.”
Ukraine’s government has been suspicious of Germany’s reliance on Russian energy and support for the Nord Stream gas pipelines, which former Chancellor Angela Merkel defended.
Merkel’s successor, Olaf Scholz, agreed to eliminate Russian energy imports after Russia invaded Ukraine but initially hesitated to provide Ukraine with weapons, fearing Germany would be drawn into the war.
Breitbart News reported that while the U.S., Poland, and the U.K. were more “openly supportive” of Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself, Berlin got the “cold diplomatic shoulder from Kyiv.”
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier did not receive an invitation to visit Ukraine in 2022, leading to anger in Germany, which noted that it had provided significant financial aid to Ukraine and had sheltered many Ukrainian refugees. Scholz eventually visited Ukraine with French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders in June 2022.
Despite being initially slow to provide military aid, Germany has now become one of the largest suppliers of arms to Ukraine while allowing for deliveries of modern battle tanks like Leopard 1 and 2 and anti-aircraft systems needed to prevent drone and missile strikes.
The new military aid that Germany is providing includes 30 Leopard 1 A5 tanks, 20 Marder armored personnel carriers, over 100 war vehicles, 18 Howitzer artillery weapons, 200 surveillance drones, four IRIS-T SLM anti-aircraft systems, along with other air defense equipment.
‼️🇩🇪🇺🇦 Germany to provide Ukraine with largest military aid package since the start of the war
Spiegel writes that the €2.7 billion package will include:
– 20 Marder BMPs;
– 30 Leopard 1 tanks;
– 4 IRIS-T-SLM SAMs (12 launchers and hundreds of missiles for it);
— Zlatti71 (@djuric_zlatko) May 13, 2023
If traveling to Germany, Zelensky would be arriving from Rome, where he recently met with Pope Francis and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Berlin police confirmed that they are preparing for a possible visit by Zelensky and have established a security barrier around most of the capital’s government district.
After Zelensky meets Scholz and other prominent German officials at the chancellery, the two leaders will likely fly to the western city of Aachen, where Zelensky would receive the International Charlemagne Prize awarded to him and the Ukrainian people.
In July 2021, Zelensky visited Berlin. Days before Russia’s invasion in February 2021, he attended the Munich Security Conference.