News ID: 115006
Publish Date : 13 May 2023 - 23:12

Germany Announces $3bn Military Aid Package for Ukraine, Borrell Urges Long-Range Weapons

BERLIN (AP/ Reuters) – Germany will provide Ukraine with additional military aid worth more than 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion), including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition, the government said Saturday.
The announcement came as preparations were underway in Berlin for a possible first visit to Germany by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky since the war with Russia broke out last year.
Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that Berlin wants to show with the latest package of arms “that Germany is serious in its support” for Ukraine.
“Germany will provide all the help it can, as long as it takes,” he said.
While Zelensky’s visit on Sunday has yet to be officially confirmed, it would be a sign that relations between Ukraine and Germany have improved markedly after a rocky patch.
Kiev has long been suspicious of Germany’s reliance on Russian energy and support for the Nord Stream gas pipelines circumventing Ukraine, defended by then Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Her successor, Olaf Scholz, agreed to phase out Russian energy imports after the invasion but initially hesitated to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, fearing Germany could be drawn into the conflict.
With Washington, Warsaw and London more overtly supportive of Ukraine, Berlin got the cold diplomatic shoulder from Kiev.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was disinvited from Ukraine last year, prompting annoyance in Germany, which pointed out that it has given considerable financial aid to Kiev and taken in more than a million Ukrainian refugees. Scholz eventually visited Kiev with French President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders in June.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also called on Saturday for European nations to provide long-range weapons for Ukraine, while accelerating arms deliveries overall.
“The Russians are bombing from far away so the Ukrainians have to have the capacity to reach... the same distance, the same range,” Borrell said after a meeting with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Stockholm.
“But we have to speed up,” he said.
“I welcome the German effort and invite all member states to follow this example,” Borrell said.
As for the developments on the ground, Russia said on Friday that Ukrainian forces had attacked Russian positions along almost 100 km (60 miles) of the front line near Soledar, a small mining town near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine that Moscow’s forces seized in January.
As anticipation grows of a Ukrainian counteroffensive aiming to drive Moscow’s forces out of the land they have seized in the last 15 months, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar confirmed earlier reports that Ukraine had made some gains near Bakhmut, but appeared to play down suggestions of a wider push.
The Russian Defense Ministry said 26 attacks involving over a thousand troops and up to 40 tanks near Soledar on Thursday had been repulsed. In one area, Russian forces had fallen back to “more favorable positions” near a reservoir northwest of Bakhmut.