Germany is set to deliver the first of four high-tech air defense systems within “days.” The rush to move up the delivery comes after heavy Russian missile strikes hit major Ukrainian cities including Kyiv.
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht on Monday said Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian population centers highlighted the urgency of delivering air defense systems to Kyiv’s forces.
The long-promised systems, which are capable of protecting an entire city, were originally slated to be delivered at the end of the year. Monday’s deadly strikes, however, have now sped up the delivery timeline.
What did German officials say?
Lambrecht said the Russian barrage underlined the need for the vehicle-mounted Iris-T SLM systems to be delivered quickly.
“The renewed missile fire on Kyiv and the many other cities show how important it is to supply Ukraine with air defense systems quickly,” the defense minister said in a statement.
“Russia’s attacks with missiles and drones terrorize above all the civilian population,” Lambrecht said.
She added that the first of four high-tech air defense systems will now be “ready for the effective protection of people in the coming days.”
Chancellor Olaf Scholz had promised to provide the air defense systems to Ukraine in June.
Russian missiles rain down on cities across Ukraine
What can the air defense shields do?
The IRIS-T SLM can defend from approaching missiles at an altitude of up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) and a distance up to 40 kilometers.
According to Scholz, the defense system makes it possible to protect “an entire major city from Russian air attacks.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Monday that Germany would do “everything it can” to help quickly bolster Ukraine’s air defenses.
“It is despicable and unjustifiable for Putin to bombard large cities and civilians with missiles,” Baerbock wrote on Twitter.
During the Monday morning missile strikes, the German Foreign Ministry said, a large building housing a German consulate in Kyiv was damaged. However, it added that the office had not been in use since the war broke out.