Germany is sending 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine.
This is according to a statement made by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday.
Berlin Saturday authorized NATO partners the Netherlands and Estonia to deliver German-made weapons to Ukraine.
The batch of weapons included 400 RPGs from the Netherlands and old GDR howitzers from Estonia.
The announcement marks a reversal of restrictive policies in Germany that prohibited sending of arms to conflict areas.
“The Russian attack marks a turning point. It is our duty to do our best to help Ukraine defend against the invading army of Putin. That’s why we’re supplying 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to our friends in Ukraine,” he wrote in a Twitter post.
Germany has a long-standing policy of not exporting weapons to war zones, rooted partly in its bloody 20th-century history and resulting pacifism. Countries aiming to pass on German weapons exports need to apply for approval in Berlin first.
Scholz had repeatedly referred to this policy in recent weeks when refusing to deliver weapons to Ukraine.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine is entering the third day, fighting broke out at the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital city Kyiv, which is regarded as the primary goal of the Russian forces.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed Germany’s change of stance: “Keep it up, Chancellor Olaf Scholz! Anti-war coalition in action!”
U.S. and U.K. officials said the Russian forces were about 18 miles, or 30 kilometres, from the city centre.
The speed of the advance has been slowed “likely due to acute logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance”, the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense said.
However, a Pentagon official warned the situation might change rapidly.
“It’s a battlefield, and events on the battlefield are dynamic, and they can change very, very quickly,” the official said.
President Joe Biden also authorized an additional $350 million in military assistance from Pentagon inventories, including anti-armour, small arms, various munitions, body armour, and related equipment. The White House also reportedly asked Congress to provide $6.4 billion in extra funds to assist Ukraine.
The U.K. is sending defensive military aid to Ukraine and trained 22,000 Ukrainian troops.
More than 100,000 Russian troops have entered Ukraine, Zelensky said in a Twitter post, who refused to leave Kyiv, rebuffing a U.S. evacuation offer and urged Ukrainians to fight.
“We will not lay down our weapons. We will defend our country. Our weapons are our strength. This is our land. Our country. Our children. We will protect all of them,” Zelensky said in a video posted to social media.