Germany said Monday it was rushing long-promised air defense systems, capable of protecting an entire city, to Ukraine after Russia unleashed a barrage of missile strikes on the country.
Calling the latest attacks “despicable,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote on Twitter that “we are doing everything to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses.”
Chancellor Olaf Scholz in June promised the highly modern Iris-T systems that he said were capable of shielding a large city from air raids.
Germany had earlier expected to deliver the first of several missile shield systems by year’s end, but Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said the first would now be “ready for the effective protection of people in the coming days.”
“The latest rocket strikes on Kyiv and many other cities clearly underline the importance of the rapid delivery of air defence systems to Ukraine,” she added.
The Iris-T system has a shield range spanning a height of 20 kilometers (12 miles) and a breadth of 40 kilometers (24 miles).
The German army itself has Iris T-missiles in its inventory but not the complete surface-to-air system. It fires missiles from Tornado or Eurofighter jets.