Germany on Tuesday announced a new, $1.4 billion tranche of military aid to Ukraine. It includes effective air defense systems and smaller amounts of artillery shells and support vehicles, but is missing the long-range, high-tech made-in-Germany cruise missiles Kyiv had hoped for.

Following a formal announcement of the aid package by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Ukrainian news wires detailed military equipment and supplies that – for the most part – are better suited to rear area tasks than combat against the Russian army.

The main line items of the latest German arms tranche include three Gepard anti-aircraft cannon systems, 20 RQ-35 and 20 Vector reconnaissance drones, a single Biber assault bridge system, three HX81 tank recovery vehicles, three tank recovery trailers, 13 border patrol vehicles, and 3,872 155mm smoke shells, Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reported on Friday.

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Some Ukrainian news platforms, without attribution, said the German arms transfer also would include a Patriot anti-aircraft system, a US-developed weapon generally considered the best long-range air defense weapon deployed by either side in the Russo-Ukraine war.

Delivery of the equally effective, but shorter-range, Iris-T6 missile systems, which have proved deadly particularly to Russian close air support aircraft and attack helicopters, was also planned, military news platforms like the Ukrainian Realina Viina reported.

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Conspicuously absent from the German arms transfer was the Taurus cruise missile, a weapons system long requested by Kyiv for its precise accuracy, deadly anti-ship and anti-materials warheads, and 500 km range.

Ukrainian strike planners have, since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, repeatedly demonstrated skill and excellent knowledge of Russian military assets thought by Moscow to be out of range of newly-arrived weapons.

Following the secret US transfer of ATACMS ballistic missiles with a 165-km range to Ukraine last month, Kyiv on Oct. 17 launched a series of punishing strikes on Russia-held airfields in Crimea and the eastern Luhansk region, destroying more than 20 Russian combat aircraft, including at least 11 top-end Ka-50 Alligator attack helicopters. 

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Ukrainian officials led by President Volodymyr Zelensky have argued that the sooner Western states transfer high-tech, precision-guided weapons to Ukraine, the more quickly Russian forces will be pushed out of the country. Some Western countries led by Germany have dragged their feet on fears that delivery of a long-range strike system like Taurus to Ukraine might make Russia take more aggressive steps.

Speaking at a German-Ukrainian business forum in Berlin on Tuesday, Scholz said Germany will maintain its aid to Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion even as Berlin supports Israel in its conflict with Hamas.

“We are backing Ukraine economically, financially, with humanitarian aid and also with weapons,” Scholz said. “This support will in no way be impacted by the fact that we of course, since the horrible morning hours of Oct. 7, focused on Israel and the Middle East with the greatest sympathy and concern,” he said.

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“Ukraine will not stop fighting for its freedom – that has become unmistakably clear in these more than 600 days (since the start of the invasion),” Scholz said. “And you have our word. We will support Ukraine as long as necessary.”

AFP wire content was used in this news article.

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