US and Germany agree to send armed fighting vehicles to Ukraine

Germany will follow the US in providing a Patriot missile defence system to Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)
Germany will follow the US in providing a Patriot missile defence system to Ukraine (AFP via Getty Images)

The United States and Germany have announced they will send armoured fighting vehicles to Ukraine to ramp up military support following a similair move by France earlier this week.

In a joint statement after a call between President Joe Biden and Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the US said it would provide Ukraine with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles while Germany would provide Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles.

“Right now the war in Ukraine is at a critical point,” Mr Biden told reporters. “We have to do everything we can to help the Ukrainians resist Russian aggression.”

The US weapons package, to be announced on Friday, is expected to include about 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles as part of security assistance totalling about $2.8 billion (£2.3 billion), officials told Reuters.

Both countries agreed to train Ukrainian soldiers on how to use them, while Germany would also supply a Patriot air defence battery to Ukraine.

“President Biden and Chancellor Scholz expressed their common determination to continue to provide the necessary financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine for as long as needed,” a joint statement between the countries said.

Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky expressed his appreciation for Germany’s contribution, saying on Twitter that “Germany is making an important contribution to intercepting all Russian missiles!”

The decision was announced after Mr Scholz’s government faced pressure to beef up military support for Ukraine after France announced it was sending light AMX-10 RC armoured combat vehicles.

Mr Scholz has ramped up defence spending and sent aid and weapons to Ukraine since the invasion, but had previously fallen short of supplying powerful weapons for fear of risking direct conflict with Russia, along with other Western countries.

He has also made it clear that he did not want to go it alone on sending heavy weapons to Ukraine and that he would coordinate deliveries with other members of the NATO alliance.

On a visit to London, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Ukraine must be given weapons not only to defend itself but also to liberate areas under Russian occupation.

“We cannot leave any room to doubt our support, and we have to constantly see what more we can do, especially in terms of military support,” she told a briefing alongside her British counterpart James Cleverly.

That includes weapons that “Ukraine needs to free occupied areas and the people who are suffering under Russian terror”, she said.

German politicians had also renewed calls for Berlin to deliver tanks to Ukraine.