German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday urged Europe to ramp up its military aid to Ukraine, particularly air defence systems, as Kyiv struggles to repel a fierce Russian offensive in the northeast.

Russia on Monday pummelled more than 30 towns and villages in Ukraine's northeastern Kharkiv region after launching a surprise ground offensive over the border last week, as Kyiv struggles with Western aid delays.

Germany announced it would send a third Patriot air defence system to Ukraine in April - a decision Scholz said was difficult because they do not have many of the systems.

"But it was important to do that and we hope that some other European countries can follow," he said during a security and competitiveness summit in Sweden with prime ministers of the five Nordic countries.


Ukraine needs "a lot of munitions, artillery tanks and air defence, and especially Patriot and the Iris-T system from Germany, which will be most helpful," Scholz said.

"We will support Ukraine as long as it takes," he stressed.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, whose country has also been a major donor to Ukraine, echoed Scholz's call.

"The main reason for the losses in Ukraine right now is because of the lack of air defence, and we have the systems. So if we have only one wish... it should be to deliver air defence systems as quickly as possible," she said.

"We have to speed up, we have to scale up in a short-term perspective," she said.

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The overnight aerial attack came shortly after Russian troops bombed a busy shopping centre in Kharkiv on May 25, which killed at least 12 people and injured 43.

Ukraine "cannot win it on their own... they have to do it with equipment from us."

The Nordic countries and Germany have been among Ukraine's biggest donors since Russia's February 2022 invasion.

Berlin is the world's second biggest donor to Ukraine, giving 14.5 billion euros so far, according to the Kiel Institute.

At a dinner on Monday, Scholz and his Nordic counterparts were to discuss continued support to Ukraine, the Swedish government said.

Earlier Monday, Scholz and his Nordic counterparts visited the Stockholm headquarters of telecommunications giant Ericsson, where they discussed security policy issues such as hybrid threats, civil preparedness and new technologies.


On Tuesday, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Scholz are scheduled to hold bilateral talks and visit the Norrsken Foundation, which supports young growth companies active in the green and digital transition.

Afterwards the two leaders are set to sign a "strategic innovation partnership" between Germany and Sweden.

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