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Ukraine conflict: Zelensky's tour of major European countries yield more weapons for Kyiv

Germany's new EUR2.7 billion military support package for Ukraine includes four IRIS-T SLM systems with a total of 12 launchers. (Diehl)

Major European countries pledged more military support for Ukraine during a tour by President Volodymr Zelensky of their capitals on 14 and 15 May.

During a joint press conference with Zelensky in Berlin on 14 May, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a new military equipment support package worth a total of EUR2.7 billion (USD2.9 billion) for more Leopard 1 tanks, Marder infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), and IRIS-T air-defence systems. Scholz cited as examples of the “modern and effective weapons with which [Ukrainians] can defend yourselves with” that Germany is delivering as Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks, Marder IFVs, IRIS-T and Patriot air-defence systems, Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers (SPHs), multiple rocket launchers, and “much ammunition”.

The German Federal Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced in a press release on 13 May that the EUR2.7 billion package would include 18 wheeled SPHs, artillery rounds, air defence missiles, four IRIS-T Surface-Launched Medium-Range (SLM) systems with a total of 12 launchers, 30 Leopard 1A5s, 20 Marders, over 100 other armoured combat vehicles, and more than 200 reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles. All this and more comes from industry stocks or industrial production, according to the German MoD.

Zelensky said Germany had made EUR11 billion available in 2023 to strengthen Ukrainian security, including Berlin's contribution to the European Peace Facility, the European Union's (EU's) military aid programme.

Scholz said German bilateral support to Ukraine since it was invaded by Russia on 24 February 2022 amounted to EUR17 billion and that Berlin was prepared to continue this support in the coming years, “as long as it is necessary”.

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