Germany and the Netherlands will send thousands of weapons to Ukraine.
Germany will send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine, marking a complete reversal in Berlin’s restrictive arms export policy, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Saturday.
The weapons, which will come from the Bundeswehr’s own stocks, “will be delivered as quickly as possible to Ukraine,” according to a government statement.
Germany has for months come under intense criticism for its response to Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine. The government said its “historical responsibilities” prevented it from shipping arms to conflict zones, and had previously blocked other NATO allies from transferring German-origin weapons to Ukraine
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point. It is our duty to do our best to support Ukraine in defending itself against Putin’s invading army,” Scholz said on Twitter.
The Netherlands also announced it will send anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, the Defence Ministry said on Saturday.
The Dutch government will supply 50 Panzerfaust-3 anti-tank weapons and 400 rockets, the ministry said in a letter to parliament. The Netherlands is also jointly considering with Germany sending a Patriot air defence system to a NATO battle group in Slovakia, it said.
Kyiv has for weeks been pleading with Germany to send armaments to help it to face down an invasion by Russia.
Kyiv’s ambassador to Germany on Saturday urged Berlin to join the Netherlands and supply Ukraine with Stinger air defence rockets.
“Damn it, it’s finally time to help us,” Andriy Melnyk told Reuters in an interview at the Ukrainian embassy.
“We need air defence and we need a no-fly zone,” Melnyk said.
Berlin’s obstinate refusal until now to approve weapon deliveries, and a previous decision to send only 5,000 helmets, had sparked anger and mockery, with Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko calling it “a joke”
Berlin has also handed over a field hospital to Kyiv.