Germany will supply Ukraine with around 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles within weeks as part of a new phase of support coordinated with the US, a government spokesman said on Friday.
US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Thursday that both their countries will send powerfully armed infantry fighting vehicles to help Ukraine repel Russia’s invasion.
The United States will supply Bradleys — which usually come armed with 25 mm autocannon, a 7.62 mm machine gun, and anti-tank missiles — while Germany will send Marders, they said.
German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit on Friday said around 40 Marders would be sent, or enough to equip a battalion.
“These 40 vehicles are to be ready in the first quarter so that they can then be handed over to Ukraine,” he said, adding that training for Ukrainian soldiers to use the vehicles would be provided in Germany.
Ukraine has long pushed for heavier weaponry, including tanks, to allow it to go on the offensive. Western nations have been reluctant to send them, citing fears of becoming drawn into the war or provoking Russia.
But the Ukrainians have built momentum, and Western nations have been expanding the range of weapons being provided.
The US-German announcement came a day after France promised to deliver AMX-10 RC light tanks — a vehicle that is wheeled rather than tracked but which shares the much heavier cannon typical on a tank.
Germany also said it will follow the United States in sending a state-of-the-art Patriot missile air defence system to Ukraine.