Germany, Norway, Australia pledge additional weapons for Ukraine at NATO summit
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday met several foreign leaders on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius and announced new military assistance to Kyiv.
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Following a meeting with German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Mr Zelenskyy posted on social media that there is "an agreement on additional Patriot [air defence system] launchers and missiles for them from Germany".
After speaking with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, Ukraine’s president said Ottawa would provide the Ukrainian army with armoured vehicles, and a meeting with Australia’s Anthony Albanese brought an announcement of 30 Bushmaster armoured personnel carriers.
In addition, the Norwegian defence ministry announced it would provide Ukraine with an additional 1,000 Black Hornet drones for reconnaissance.
Patriot systems were first deployed by the US Army in the mid-1980s. The Patriot is being modernised and is in service in more than 10 countries, including the United States, Israel, Germany, and Spain.
According to the German military, Patriot covers an area with a radius of about 68 kilometres. The radar can track up to 50 targets and point at five of them simultaneously. Depending on the modification, the interceptor missiles can reach an altitude of over 24 kilometres and hit targets at a distance of up to 160 kilometres.
Black Hornet drones are used for reconnaissance and target identification, are easy to operate, difficult to detect, and are particularly well suited for urban combat. The drones are small, weighing only about 50 grams.
At a meeting Tuesday, the North Atlantic Alliance’s leaders agreed to remove a membership action plan stage for Ukraine on its way to NATO membership, but did not extend an invitation to join, something that Kyiv has been hoping for.
Ukraine has repeatedly said that it wants to receive a political invitation to the Alliance at the NATO summit in Vilnius, although it appreciates that membership is out of the question until the end of the war.