Germany will make a qualitative leap in the supply of weapons to Ukraine, after the restraint with which the government of Social Democratic Chancellor Olaf Schoz has been dodging criticism for its opposition to the delivery of weapons to conflict zones. In a speech in the Bundestag, Scholz announced that he will provide kyiv with the Iris T anti-aircraft defense system, from the manufacturer Diehl, the most sophisticated and modern available in Germany.
“With this, we are putting Ukraine in a position to protect its big cities from Russian air strikes,” Scholz said. The Ukrainian armed forces will also receive a state-of-the-art radar system capable of detecting enemy artillery, the foreign minister added.
Ukraine has long demanded the delivery of air defense systems to be able to protect itself from attacks by Russian fighters, helicopters, missiles or drones, a demand that until now had not been met in its entirety by the allies.
Scholz also said that Germany would support the delivery of longer-range and more accurate mobile missile systems to Ukraine announced by the United States, a decision Russia has reacted to with a warning that the West is adding fuel to the fire.
After his initial refusal to supply weapons to Ukraine, due to the potential of a conflict with a nuclear power, Scholz has gradually opened his hand. Since that change of position, Germany has supplied Ukraine with anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank weapons, more than 15 million rounds of ammunition, 100,000 hand grenades, more than 5,000 anti-tank mines, highly explosive material, machine guns and dozens of truckloads of other relevant goods. . Anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and millions of rounds of ammunition have been delivered so far.
In recent weeks, the German government also made two commitments to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine: 50 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks and seven Model 2000 self-propelled howitzers, with a range of 40 kilometers. This material, however, has not yet reached its destination. For this reason, the opposition has repeatedly accused Scholz of vacillation in recent weeks.
In his speech in the Bundestag in the framework of the debate on the budgets, Scholz recalled that in the coming weeks Germany will also deliver to Ukraine, in collaboration with the Netherlands, twelve Panzerhaubitze armored howitzers.
He also added that kyiv has already signed a contract with the arms industry for the supply of Gepard tanks, and stressed that both this equipment and the Panzerhaubitze fall within the classification of “heavy weapons”.
“We supplied continuously, since the beginning of the war, and directly after the beginning of the war we made this decision and broke with a state practice in Germany for years. It was a wise decision, but it was a brave and new decision of this government”, he said to defend himself against criticism.
Scholz also alluded to the recent agreement between the tripartite coalition government and the conservative bloc on the details of the game for the modernization of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, and thus solve “the negligence of the last 16 years.”
It was the conservative bloc of the former Chancellor, Angela Merkel, “which began the times of austerity in the Bundeswehr, every soldier knows that,” he said. In his speech prior to the chancellor’s, the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Friedrich Merz, deflected that criticism by denouncing that more than a month after the Bundestag agreed to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons, it has still not arrived.
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