Germany is set to double its military aid for Ukraine after the federal coalition government agreed on plans to increase financial support to Kyiv from €4 billion to €8 billion next year.
The Budget Committee will vote on the hike in military aid on Thursday before meeting for final deliberations ahead of approving the draft federal budget for 2024.
The move would see Germany finally achieve the minimum defense spending requirements for a NATO member of 2 percent of its GDP, a figure Germany has regularly fallen well short of for decades and last reached in 1991.
The extra help for Ukraine will be paid for via a special fund of €100 billion for the Bundeswehr, which is financed by loans.
In February 2022, shortly after the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz formulated the goal of permanently achieving the 2 percent quota in the Bundestag.
At the beginning of November, Germany’s Defense Minister Boris Pistorius once again called for the 2 percent target to be “permanently reflected” in the regular national budget over and above the €100 billion special fund launched in 2022.
Andreas Schwarz, who serves as the SPD parliamentary group’s rapporteur on the annual budget of Germany’s defense ministry, told Bild am Sonntag that the decision to increase military aid for Ukraine was “right and important.”
Germany’s “promise to Ukraine has been backed up with the necessary money,” he said, adding that reaching the 2 percent target for defense spending was “a great success for the traffic light”.
Germany is Ukraine’s largest military donor in Europe and second only to the United States worldwide. According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Germany has so far provided more than €17 billion in military aid to Ukraine.
This includes Leopard 2 main battle tanks, Marder infantry fighting vehicles, Iris-T and Patriot missile defense systems, Gepard anti-aircraft guns, and multiple rocket launchers.