UPDATED: Germany to send IRIS-T air defence system to Ukraine -Scholz

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BERLIN, June 1 (Reuters) – Germany will supply Ukraine with the IRIS-T medium-range surface-to-air defence system, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, following pleas from Kyiv as well as German opposition parties to step up heavy weapons deliveries to the country.

“We have been delivering continuously since the beginning of the war,” Scholz said on Wednesday, pointing to more than 15 million rounds of ammunition, 100,000 hand grenades and over 5,000 anti-tank mines sent to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24.

“Most recently, the government has decided that we will deliver the most modern air defence system that Germany has in the form of the IRIS-T,” Scholz told lawmakers in the Bundestag.

Germany will deliver infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) to Greece so that the government in Athens can pass on Soviet-style weapons to Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said earlier.

“We will provide Greece with German infantry fighting vehicles,” he told reporters after a two-day EU summit in Brussels, adding he had struck an agreement with the Greek prime minister.

Scholz gave no details as to what kind of infantry fighting vehicles Berlin will hand over to Greece – or what kind of weapons Athens will pass on to Kyiv.

“The defence ministries will work out the details and quickly implement this agreement,” he said.

According to a defence source, Berlin aims to deliver some 100 old Marder IFVs owned by arms-maker Rheinmetall  to Greece.

Athens, in return, would supply Soviet-style BMP IFVs to Ukraine, the source told Reuters.

Germany has been criticized for dragging its feet on heavy arms deliveries to Kyiv.

Photo – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz . EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN

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