BERLIN (AP) — Germany will supply Ukraine with armored personnel carriers and a Patriot missile battery, the government said Thursday.
The announcement came in a joint German-U.S. statement after Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden.
It came shortly after France said it will soon hold talks with Ukraine to arrange for the delivery of armored combat vehicles. France's presidency said that will be the first time this type of Western-made wheeled tank destroyer will be given to the Ukrainian military.
The German government didn't specify how many Marder APCs will be supplied or when. It said that Germany will train Ukrainian forces on them.
The statement noted that the U.S. last month announced that it would give a Patriot air defense missile battery to Ukraine and said that “Germany will join the United States in supplying an additional Patriot air defense battery to Ukraine.” It didn't specify a timeframe.
Germany already has delivered significant military aid to Ukraine, including Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns and the first of four IRIS-T surface-to-air missile systems.
Still, Scholz has faced pressure at home to offer more, including Marder vehicles.
The German leader also has faced calls from Ukraine and some lawmakers at home to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but so far has said that Berlin wouldn’t go it alone with such a move and that no other country has supplied similar Western equipment. Thursday's statement made no mention of those tanks.
The head of the German parliament's defense committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, said it was “a big relief that the government and particularly the chancellery are finally clearing the way" for the delivery of APCs to Ukraine.
“It comes very late but not too late,” said Strack-Zimmermann, a member of the Free Democrats — one of three parties in Scholz's governing coalition — who has long pressed for the delivery of more types of weapons.
“We won't let up,” she wrote on Twitter. “After the Marder comes the Leopard."
The Associated Press