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German Defence Minister Announces €500 Million Arms Support Package for Ukraine During Odesa Visit

Odesa, May 31, 2024, The Europe Today: German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced a substantial new arms support package for Ukraine, valued at €500 million ($542 million), during an unannounced visit to the port city of Odesa on Thursday. The announcement was made alongside Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov.

This visit marks Pistorius’ third trip to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in 2022. The visit comes at a critical time as Ukrainian forces face increased pressure from renewed Russian offensives in the northeast and heavy airstrikes on Ukrainian cities.

A top priority for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been securing more ammunition for air defense systems from Ukraine’s allies.

“We will continue to support you in this defensive campaign,” Pistorius assured during a meeting with Umerov on Thursday evening in Odesa. He added that some of the materials were already on the way for delivery.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Umerov highlighted the crucial need for continued arms deliveries from allies. “Our partners must supply us with weapons so that we can push the enemy back behind the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine,” he said.

The newly announced package includes:

  • Ammunition for the IRIS-T SLM medium-range air defense system and shorter-range SLS missiles. The IRIS-T SLM can defend against approaching missiles at altitudes up to 20 kilometers and distances up to 40 kilometers.
  • Spare parts and replacement barrels for artillery systems.
  • One million rounds of small arms ammunition.

This support comes as Ukrainian troops on the frontlines continue to face ammunition shortages, exacerbated by delays in a critical aid package from the US Congress, which was held up for over six months. Although the $61 billion (€57 billion) package was approved in April, weapons and munitions have yet to reach the front lines in large numbers.

Germany is the second-largest provider of arms to Ukraine after the United States. Pistorius’ visit and the new support package underscore Germany’s commitment to aiding Ukraine in its defense efforts against ongoing Russian aggression.