Germany to send new missiles to Ukraine as army struggles on eastern front

Germany says it will hand over Patriot air defence system and missiles, while Russia claims capture of another village.

A general view of a mobile defence surface-to-air missile system, Patriot, before being transported from Gnoien, Germany [File: Annegret Hilse/Reuters]Published On 13 Apr 202413 Apr 2024

Germany will deliver a United States-made 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, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

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

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“I am grateful to the chancellor for the decision to supply another, additional Patriot system to Ukraine, as well as missiles for the existing air defence systems,” Zelenskyy said after speaking by telephone with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday.

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

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 German defence ministry said in a post on X.

An April 10 German government summary of arms and military equipment transfers to Ukraine included two Patriot systems on a list of air defence supplies already delivered, making this the third from Germany.

Zelenskyy said last week that Ukraine needed 25 US-made Patriot air defence systems to protect the country from Russian attacks.

After the outbreak of the Ukraine war in 2022, Germany dropped a traditionally pacifist stance and has become Ukraine’s second-biggest supplier of military aid, after the US.

As well as Patriots, Berlin has supplied a wide array of other armaments, ranging from artillery to armoured fighting vehicles.

Pressure on eastern front

On the front lines, “the situation on the eastern front has deteriorated significantly in recent days”, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, Oleksandr Syrskii, said in a statement on Saturday.

This comes as Russia claimed the capture of a village near the industrial town of Avdiivka that it captured in mid-February.

Russia’s defence ministry announced its troops had “liberated” the village of Pervomaiske in the Donetsk region, about 11km (seven miles) west of largely destroyed Avdiivka.

Ukraine has not confirmed the loss. Its army said on Friday that it had repelled attacks on the village.

On his Telegram channel, Syrskii wrote of “a significant intensification of the enemy’s offensive after the presidential elections in Russia” last month.

The commander-in-chief, who took over in February after Zelenskyy fired his popular predecessor General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, added decisions were being taken “to strengthen the most problematic defence areas with electronic warfare and air defence”.

Russia says 10 killed in attack by Ukraine

Meanwhile, in the southern Zaporizhia region, a local Kremlin-installed official blamed Ukraine on Saturday for a shelling that killed 10 people, including children.

The Tokmak municipal administration reported on Telegram that the shelling struck three apartment blocks on Friday evening.

Five people were pulled alive from the rubble and 13 were hospitalised, according to the regional head, Yevhen Balitsky. The town fell to Russia at the start of the invasion.

Ukrainian authorities in Zaporizhia said Russia had attacked the region more than 400 times over the last day, including from planes.

Ukraine has also said the situation around the eastern front-line city of Chasiv Yar is “difficult and tense” with the area under “constant fire”.

Chasiv Yar lies 20km (12 miles) west of the town of Bakhmut, which was flattened by months of artillery fire before it was captured by Moscow last May.

Russia is recently securing new territorial gains and trying to press onward against Ukrainian units hobbled by delays in the supply of Western military aid.

Source: News Agencies