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German defence minister announces €500m military support package for Ukraine

Firefighters put out a fire after a Russian missile hit a large printing house in Kharkiv, May 23, 2024
Firefighters put out a fire after a Russian missile hit a large printing house in Kharkiv, May 23, 2024 Copyright Andrii Marienko/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Andrii Marienko/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP, EBU
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Russia launched a fresh offensive in Kharkiv earlier this month, and Ukrainian military commanders reported a renewed build-up of Moscow troops in the north of the region on Thursday.

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Germany's Defence Minister Boris Pistorius has announced a €500 million military support package for Ukraine.

He made the announcement during a trip to the southern port city of Odesa, which had been kept secret until the evening for security reasons.

"Ukraine is under pressure because the Russian forces are doing everything they can to extend the length of the front and tie up Ukrainian forces. But they are succeeding," he said.

"At the same time, no really significant and sustainable breakthroughs are being made. The situation is therefore naturally one of pressure, but not one that Ukraine seems unable to cope with at the moment."

This was Pistorius' third visit to Ukraine since the 2022 Russian invasion.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius visits the Air Defence Missile Group 21 at a military training area in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, May 29, 2024
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius visits the Air Defence Missile Group 21 at a military training area in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, May 29, 2024Bernd Wuestneck/(c) Copyright 2024, dpa (www.dpa.de). Alle Rechte vorbehalten

The military aid package includes ammunition for Ukraine’s medium-range air defence system and shorter-range SLS missiles. It also includes spare parts and barrels for artillery systems and around one million rounds of small ammunition.

Germany is the second-largest provider of arms to Ukraine after the US and Pistorius said some of the items are about to be delivered.

Ukraine's frontline troops continue to face ammunition shortages in the face of a renewed Russian offensive in the northern region of Kharkiv.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy comments on recent security agreements with international partners

Russia launched a fresh offensive in Kharkiv earlier this month, and Ukrainian military commanders reported a renewed build-up of Russian troops in the north of the region.

Russia has made some territorial gains but Ukraine's ability to hold back Moscow's forces has been hampered by a lengthy delay in US military aid and Western Europe's inadequate military production which has slowed crucial deliveries to the battlefield.

Ukraine's army chief has warned that Russia is increasing its troop concentration in the Kharkiv region, where Moscow's forces have made significant advances in a spring offensive.

Oleksandr Syrskyi said on his Facebook page on Thursday that Russia is bringing army units from other parts of Ukraine into the Kharkiv region to supplement forces in the two main focuses of fighting, the towns of Vovchansk and Lyptsi.

Syrskyi said Ukraine has also moved reserve troops into the area.

In his nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that new agreements with partners on air defences and drone production are on the horizon.

"We already have some confirmations from leaders about enhancing our air defence capabilities, and the key is to implement them in full and add more relevant agreements," he said.

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