Germany commits to billions in military aid for Ukraine

Ukrainian soldiers riding atop a tank during military training in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region on March 29. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN – Germany agreed on Wednesday to give billions of euros of new military aid to Ukraine in the coming years to bolster Kyiv’s fightback against Russia.

Berlin has shifted away from a traditionally pacifist stance since Moscow sent its forces into Ukraine in February 2022, becoming one of Kyiv’s biggest military backers.

The Parliament’s budget committee gave the green light for about €8 billion (S$11.5 billion) to be spent on directly purchasing weapons and equipment for Ukraine.

Around €12 billion in total will be released related to the Ukraine conflict over the next decade or so.

The other €4 billion will go to the German military to replenish stocks.

The Bundeswehr was already underfunded before the war in Ukraine, and the situation has worsened as Berlin rushes cutting-edge gear to Kyiv.

The news represents a “very important step with which we make it clear that we are supporting Ukraine in the long term in its fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin”, said German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius.

The agreement will allow supplies including armoured vehicles, tanks, and ammunition to be delivered to Ukraine in the coming years, according to a statement from the minister.

The German army will also be able to buy new equipment.

Critics say the Bundeswehr has suffered from years of neglect and underinvestment, a product of the country’s deep-rooted post-war guilt.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged a major funding boost for the military.

But progress has been slow – none of a special €100 billion fund earmarked for the overhaul has yet been spent, it emerged earlier this month.

A senior lawmaker tasked with scrutinising the armed forces, meanwhile, said they were lacking in everything, with soldiers living in “pitiful” barracks.

This week, Mr Scholz confirmed that the promised Leopard battle tanks had been delivered to Kyiv. AFP

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