Germany will send six Patriot missile batteries to Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (front, R) and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky (front, L) pose after signing a 'Bilateral agreement on security commitments and long-term support' as German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (back, C), Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (back, L) and German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (back, R) look on during a meeting at the German Chancellery building. [EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN]

Germany will supply a U.S.-made six Patriot air defence system and air defence missiles to Ukraine at a “critical time” as Kyiv struggles to defend its energy system from Russian bombardment, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday.

More than two years into its full-scale invasion, Russia has staged three massive airstrikes on power stations and substations in recent weeks, prompting Kyiv to issue desperate appeals for supplies of high-end air defences.

“Germany will deliver an additional Patriot air defence system to Ukraine,” Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on X, a reminder that Germany is now a key backer of Ukraine with U.S. assistance stuck in Congress.

“We stand steadfast on the side of Ukraine,” Scholz said, adding that Zelenskiy had informed him in a telephone call on Saturday about “massive Russian air attacks on civilian energy infrastructure”.

Germany’s ambassador to Ukraine, Martin Jaeger, said on X: “Other international partners must follow quickly now.”

Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messaging app that he was grateful to Scholz for the decision to supply another, additional Patriot system, and missiles for existing air defence systems.

Later in his nightly video address, Zelenskiy indicated talks were under way about expanding German transfers of another air defence system, though German officials did not reference this in their remarks.

“We are also working with Germany on an additional IRIS-T system, which is also a strong air defence system, and on missiles for our existing air defence systems,” Zelenskiy said in his video address.

Jaeger, the German ambassador, said the delivery would bring the number of German Patriot systems in Ukraine to three and add to existing IRIS-T and Gepard air defence systems that were “also here & doing a great job”.

Zelenskiy described his conversation with Scholz as “important, productive” and said: “I call on all other leaders of partner states to follow this example.”

A German government spokesperson said the two leaders discussed measures to further strengthen Ukraine’s air defence. “They agreed that further efforts by partners were necessary,” a statement read.

Germany will hand over the Patriot system immediately and it will be in addition to air defence systems that were already delivered and planned, the defence ministry said on X.

An April 10 German government summary of arms and military equipment transfers to Ukraine included two Patriot systems, 52 Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, one IRIS-T SLS and three IRIS-T SLM air defence systems as having already been delivered.

It said another 15 Gepard anti-aircraft guns, nine IRIS-T SLM and 11 IRIS-T SLS air defence systems were being planned or executed.

Zelenskiy said last week that Ukraine needed 25 of the U.S.-made Patriot air defence systems to cover the country from Russian attacks.

In his statement on Telegram on Saturday, the Ukrainian leader said he and Scholz also discussed preparations for a reconstruction conference in Berlin and a peace summit in Switzerland in June.

The German government spokesman said Scholz had promised Germany would “actively support Switzerland’s initiative for a high-level international peace conference and would work towards the broadest possible global participation”.

Russia has said such a meeting would be pointless if it did not participate. Kyiv has said Russia would not be invited.

The German spokesman said Scholz and Zelenskiy had agreed to continue “intensive cooperation” ahead of a June 11-12 Ukraine Reconstruction Reference scheduled to take place in Berlin.

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