Germany to Send Ukraine Missile Defense System and Radar Equipment


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

“This, too, is a decision we have made that ensures Ukraine’s security with the most modern equipment,” Mr. Scholz said during an unusually impassioned speech to Germany’s federal Parliament.

The speed and scale of weapons donations to Ukraine has been a persistent source of criticism for Mr. Scholz both from Ukraine and from inside Germany, even as he has spoken of a break with decades of pacifist policy.

While saying the air defense systems were among the most sophisticated in the German arsenal and could be deployed to protect whole cities, Mr. Scholz did not immediately specify delivery timelines.

In Wednesday’s parliamentary session, Friedrich Merz, the head of the conservative opposition, decried the fact that Germany still had not delivered heavy weapons a month after opposition and government lawmakers had voted to back such deliveries, and mocked Mr. Scholz as failing to communicate clearly on the issue.

“You talk a bit more than usual, but the fact that you are not saying anything remains unchanged,” Mr. Merz said, to cheers from his conservative party.

In response, Mr. Scholz listed weapons systems that the government had previously promised — such as a mobile armored air defense system and a mobile armored howitzer — saying the howitzers would be in Ukraine in a matter of weeks.

He also said that Germany would be delivering the German-made IRIS-T air defense system to Ukraine to help defend cities from air attacks. Mr. Scholz said the system was most modern of its kind in Germany’s arsenal.

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

In addition Germany had taken in 168 “especially severely wounded” Ukrainian soldiers for medical treatment, Mr. Scholz said.

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

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

The deal created some friction on the Greek political scene, not least because it was announced by the German side. Greece’s defense ministry confirmed the agreement later in the day, without specifying the number of vehicles involved.

“Mitsotakis’ government must stop making decisions in secret on crucial national issues,” Greece’s main leftist opposition party, Syriza, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Greece was one of the first European Union member states to deliver aid to Ukraine after Russia’s invasion in late February, sending Kalashnikov assault rifles and portable rocket launchers along with other material.

Germany last month made a similar tank exchange agreement with the Czech Republic to allow that country to pass its stocks of Soviet weaponry to Ukraine. Last week, however, Polish President Andrzej Duda accused Berlin of reneging on a similar deal to replace tanks sent to Ukraine from Poland.

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