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Germany’s Scholz vows military backing for Ukraine for ‘as long as needed’

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Germany will continue to provide military support to Ukraine for as long as necessary, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Kyiv on Thursday, amid criticism over Berlin’s relatively slow response on sending armaments.

“We are supporting Ukraine with the deliveries of weapons. We will keep doing that for as long as it is needed,” he said at a news conference alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Italy, France and Romania’s leaders.

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The German chancellor did not make any new weapon pledges, but pointed to previous promises like the Iris-T air defense shield and MARS II multiple launch rocket system.

“It is exactly about that – the possibility to organize defense over longer distances and all that is linked to all these weapons.” “That’s what’s needed now,” Scholz said.

Germany has come under pressure for the sluggishness in the actual delivery of heavy weapons to bolster Ukraine, with Zelenskyy earlier this week singling out Berlin as a laggard on armaments supply.

Following their talks on Thursday, Zelenskyy said he received the “backing of each leader and Germany was not an exception.”

“I felt the support of Olaf Scholz today and I am glad,” he said.

Zelenskyy added that he was in particular looking forward to reception of the Iris-T system which is “very important for us.”

“Our country is big, a very big territory, that’s why we need a lot of (anti-air) systems and I’m sure that Germany will help us greatly with that,” he said.

The Iris-T system has been touted by Scholz as being capable of shielding an entire large Ukrainian city from Russian air strikes.

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