Germany will supply Ukraine with armoured personnel carriers and a Patriot missile battery, the government has said.
The announcement on Thursday came in a joint German-US statement after Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with US President Joe Biden.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
“In late December, the United States announced its donation of a Patriot air defence missile battery to Ukraine. Germany will join the United States in supplying an additional Patriot air defence battery to Ukraine,” the statement read.
The statement also said the US would provide Bradley fighting vehicles to Ukraine while Germany would provide Marder armoured personnel carriers. The statement did not reveal the number of vehicles the countries intended to supply.
Germany’s decision to supply Marder armoured personnel carriers comes after France said it will soon hold talks with Ukraine to arrange for the delivery of armored combat vehicles. France’s presidency said that will be the first time this type of Western-made wheeled tank destroyer will be given to the Ukrainian military.
A French official said talks with Kyiv would continue regarding the potential delivery of other French military vehicle types.
Meanwhile, the German government did not specify how many Marder APCs will be supplied or when. It said that Germany will train Ukrainian forces on them.
Germany already has delivered significant military aid to Ukraine, including Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns and the first of four IRIS-T surface-to-air missile systems.
Still, Scholz has faced pressure to offer more, including Marder vehicles.
The German leader also has faced calls from Ukraine and some lawmakers at home to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but so far has said that it would not go it alone with such a move and that no other country has supplied similar Western equipment. Thursday’s statement made no mention of those tanks.
The head of the German parliament’s defence committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, said it was “a big relief that the government and particularly the chancellery are finally clearing the way” for the delivery of APCs to Ukraine.
“It comes very late but not too late,” said Strack-Zimmermann, a member of the Free Democrats — one of three parties in Scholz’s governing coalition — who has long pressed for the delivery of more types of weapons.
“We won’t let up,” she wrote on Twitter. “After the Marder comes the Leopard.”
Separately on Thursday, The Associated Press news agency reported that the US would send Ukraine nearly $3bn in military aid, in a massive new package that would include the Bradleys.
The aid — totalling about $2.85bn — is the largest in a series of packages of military equipment that the Pentagon has pulled from its stockpiles to send to Ukraine. It is aimed at getting as much to the Ukrainian forces as possible during the winter months, before spring sets in and an expected increase in fighting begins.
An announcement was expected Friday, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the package have not been publicly announced.
Ukrainian officials including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have repeatedly implored European and NATO powers to provide heavier weapons.
Since the Russian invasion on February 24, Ukraine has received billions of dollars’ worth of weapons and military equipment from several countries.