German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, will address parliament in a special session on Sunday to explain a decision to reverse years of arms export policies, and allow direct weapons deliveries to Ukraine.
The German government decided on Saturday to supply the Ukrainian armed forces with 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles from Bundeswehr stocks, as soon as possible.
The announcement was immediately welcomed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Scholz said on Saturday that the Russian invasion, was a “turning point … It threatens our entire post-War order.”
In addition, NATO partners the Netherlands and Estonia were authorized to deliver weapons to Ukraine that originate from German production or GDR stocks – another step that goes against Germany’s highly restrictive export policy.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had previously rooted this policy in Germany’s special responsibility for peace in Europe following its World War II history, when the Nazis invaded other European countries.
Germany has for years refused to export any arms to war zones, or allow third countries to send German-made arms to such areas.
The Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin praised the German government’s decision – a step Kiev had pushed for even ahead of the Russian invasion.
“We are glad that Germany has finally made this 180-degree turnaround,” Ambassador Andriy Melnyk told dpa.
“I have always told my German friends and the German government that they will not bear the terrible images of war in Ukraine for long without reacting and changing course.”
“Finally, the Germans have woken up and started to act properly,” he said, adding that he hoped it was not too late.
“This war could go on for a long time. We all still need staying power,” Melnyk said. He also said Kiev needed “a comprehensive economic rescue plan for Ukraine immediately, in which Germany should play a leading role.”