German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on Tuesday doubled down on his nation’s commitment to Ukraine in its war with Russia. In a high-profile visit to Kyiv, he announced more German military aid valued at 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion).
News agency dpa revealed the military assistance will include more Iris-T SLM anti-aircraft missile systems. The E.U. country will also provide anti-tank mines and 20,000 additional 155-millimeter artillery shells.
Pistorius told a news conference in the Ukrainian capital that it was his “honor” to announce the deal. “I am quite sure this will help you and your fight against Russian aggression.” The defense minister added, “We stand with Ukraine reliably.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office head Andrii Yermak called the German offering “a great aid package.”
Pistorius added to the recent parade of foreign leaders to visit war-torn Ukraine. His unannounced appearance in Kyiv followed by just a day the presence of U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
⚡️German Defense Minister Pistorius arrives in Kyiv on unannounced visit.
Germany's Defense Minister Boris Pistorius is in Kyiv to "personally see the current situation and the effectiveness of German support," the Defense Ministry reported on Nov. 21.https://t.co/uZ65FPq2mA
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) November 21, 2023
He pledged Washington’s backing “for the long haul” along with another $100 million in armaments from the Pentagon.
European Council President Charles Michel touched down in Kyiv on Tuesday to bring more tidings of military and economic support.
The E.U. is not expected to reach its self-imposed deadline for delivering one million artillery shells to Kyiv by next March.
It was also apparent that Ukraine will not receive a weapon high on its wish list anytime soon — the long-range German Taurus missile.
Pistorius was asked about the lethal missiles but only shrugged and said he had no new information. Rustem Umerov, Ukraine’s defense minister, reacted with amusement and said his government is “still working on it. No decision on Taurus has been made yet.”
Germany’s 2023 commitment to Ukraine’s defense now stands at 5.4 billion euros. It was 2 billion last year with plans for 8 billion in 2024. The nation is currently experiencing a budget crisis that led many experts to question whether the new goal will be reached.
With the Middle East war between Israel and Hamas raging, there is apparently a concerted effort to keep the struggle between Ukraine and Russia in the public consciousness.