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Germany steps up Ukraine weapons deliveries ahead of winter

Germany announced an additional one billion euros ($1.1 billion) in military aid for Ukraine Tuesday, in a race to step up weapons deliveries ahead of winter. The “winter package” includes an extra Patriot air defence system, as agreed between Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last week. Berlin will also send two more IRIS-T air defence missile systems this month capable of short- and medium-range protection, the defence ministry said in a statement. The IRIS-T systems are highly sought after by Ukraine to shoot down Russian drones and missiles. Over the coming weeks, Ukraine will also receive 10 more state-of-the-art Leopard tanks and three additional Gepard anti-aircraft guns as well as extra ammunition and vehicles. “With this new ‘winter package,’ we are further enhancing the readiness of the Ukrainian armed forces in the coming months,” Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said in the statement. The ministry did not say when the newly promised American-made Patriot system would be delivered. But training for Ukrainian soldiers on how to use the advanced surface-to-air missile system “will commence in the coming weeks”. The Patriot system will come from the Bundeswehr’s own stocks, the ministry said. Aside from the control unit and radar equipment, the system will come with eight launchers and an estimated 60 guided missiles. The new air defence package “has a value of around one billion euros,” Pistorius said. The German government will also spend around 20 million euros on a support package for Ukraine’s special forces, “including vehicles, weapons and personal equipment,” the statement added. After some initial hesitation, Germany drastically ramped up its support for Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion in February 2022. The country is now the second-biggest supplier of military assistance to Kyiv after the United States. The newest arms package was unveiled on the eve of another round of talks in Brussels where Kyiv’s international allies will discuss the coordination of military aid for Ukraine.

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