Germany ramps up military exports, mainly to arm Ukraine

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FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visit of the training program for Ukrainian soldiers on the Gepard anti-aircraft tank in Putlos near Oldenburg

BERLIN (Reuters) - German exports of military equipment have surged so far this year as Berlin supplies arms to Ukraine to help it defend itself against Russia's attack, the Economy Ministry said on Wednesday.

By Aug. 24, the value of authorised military exports totalled just under 5.1 billion euros ($5.11 billion), up from some 2.9 billion euros at the same time last year, the ministry said.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed on Monday that Germany will keep up its support for Ukraine "for as long as it takes".

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 for what it calls a "special military operation" to demilitarise its neighbour.

Ukraine and the West describe it as an unprovoked war of aggression that has killed thousands, displaced millions, created food shortages and pushed up energy prices amid unprecedented Western sanctions.

($1 = 0.9983 euros) (This story has been refiled to fix a typo in the headline)

(Reporting by Christian Kraemer; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)