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Ukraine conflict: Germany offers Gepards to Kyiv

Germany will supply 50 Gepard anti-aircraft systems (seen during an exercise in 2010) to Ukraine. (Bundeswehr/Marcus Rott)

Defence ministers and chiefs of defence staff of the 43 members of the Ukraine Defense Consultative Group met at Ramstein Air Base in Rhineland-Palatinate, southwestern Germany, on 26 April, to discuss how to bolster Kyiv's resistance to Russia. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told journalists after the meeting, which he hosted, that German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht had “made a huge commitment” to provide Ukraine with 50 Cheetah (Gepard) anti-aircraft systems and that Canada would supply eight armoured vehicles.

Opening the meeting, Austin said that more than 30 allies and partners across the globe have provided more than USD5 billion in security assistance for the self-defence of Ukraine, including USD3.7 billion from the United States. “Ukraine clearly thinks it can win, and so does everybody here,” he said, describing the embattled country as an ”arsenal of democracy”.

The German Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website on 26 April that the Bundessicherheitsrat, Germany's federal security council, had approved the export of the Gepards the day before. The ministry said the systems were from industry stocks, with German media reporting that the Gepards are from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). Lambrecht said the Gepards would provide air defence, and added, “That is exactly what Ukraine needs.”

The German press agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported on 27 April that the German government was negotiating with Gepard operator in Brazil to sell 300,000 rounds for the systems being sent to Ukraine.

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