Germany sends Ukraine missile defense systems and radar equipment

BERLIN – Chancellor Olaf Scholz defended his government’s record of delivering heavy weapons to Ukraine to German lawmakers on Wednesday, promising two more significant contributions: an air defense system and a tracking radar to help the Ukrainian military identify sources of Russian heavy artillery.

“This is also a decision we have taken to ensure Ukraine’s security with the most modern equipment,” Scholz said in an unusual speech to the German federal parliament.

The speed and scale of arms funding to Ukraine has a source of persistent criticism for Mr. Scholz both from Ukraine and inside Germany, even as he talked about break with decades of peace policy.

While saying that the air defense systems are among the most sophisticated in Germany’s arsenal and can be deployed to protect entire cities, Scholz did not immediately specify a delivery date.

During Wednesday’s parliamentary session, Friedrich Merz, the head of the conservative opposition, criticized the fact that Germany had yet to deliver heavy weapons a month after the opposition and government lawmakers voted on it. advocates for such deliveries, and mocks Mr. Scholz for not communicating clearly. on this issue.

“You talk a little more than usual, but the fact that you don’t say anything remains the same,” Mr Merz said, to cheers from his conservative party.

In response, Mr. Scholz listed weapons systems previously promised by the government – such as mobile armored air defense systems and mobile armored howitzers – saying the artillery would be in Ukraine within weeks. next.

He also said that Germany would deliver the German-made IRIS-T air defense system to Ukraine to help protect cities from aerial attacks. Scholz said the system was among the most advanced in the German arsenal.

Scholz also announced a tracking radar that could help the Ukrainian armed forces find the source of Russian artillery and artillery.

In addition, Germany sent 168 Ukrainian soldiers “with particularly serious injuries” to medical treatment, Scholz said.

The German government’s push to show its commitment has also caused political ripples elsewhere in Europe.

On Tuesday, speaking to reporters at the conclusion of a European Union summit in Brussels, Mr. Scholz announced that he had reached an agreement with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece, in which the Greeks would supplied Ukraine with Soviet-era BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles. and Germany will send an equal number of more modern alternatives to Greece.

The agreement created some contradictions in Greek politics, especially since it was announced by the German side. The Greek Defense Ministry confirmed the agreement later in the day, without specifying the number of vehicles involved.

“The government of Mitsotakis must stop making secret decisions on important national issues,” Greece’s main left-wing opposition party, Syriza, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Greece was one of the first European Union member states to provide aid to Ukraine after the Russian invasion in late February, sending Kalashnikov assault rifles and portable rocket launchers along with other supplies. whether other.

Last month, Germany made a similar tank-exchange deal with the Czech Republic to allow it to transfer Soviet arsenals to Ukraine. However, last week, Polish President Andrzej Duda accused Berlin of rejecting a similar deal to replace tanks sent to Ukraine from Poland.

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