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Germany set to supply Ukraine with anti-tank weapons in policy reversal

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. AFP

Germany set to supply Ukraine with anti-tank weapons in policy reversal

Germany on February 26 dramatically ramped up its backing for Ukraine's battle against Russia, approving weapons deliveries for Kyiv in a policy U-turn and agreeing to limit Moscow's access to the SWIFT interbank system.

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point in history. It threatens our entire post-war order," said Chancellor Olaf Scholz as his government approved the delivery of a huge batch of lethal weapons to Kyiv.

"In this situation, it is our duty to support Ukraine to the best of our ability in its defence against [Russian President] Vladimir Putin's invading army," said Scholz, stressing that Germany "stands closely by Ukraine's side".

In a shift from its longstanding policy of banning weapons exports to conflict zones, Berlin is opening up its Bundeswehr store, pledging to transfer 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 "Stinger" class surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine.

It also approved the deliveries of 400 anti-tank rocket launchers via the Netherlands to Ukraine. The anti-tank launchers had been purchased by the Netherlands from Berlin, and The Hague had therefore required Germany's green light to hand them to Kyiv.

Besides the weapons, 14 armoured vehicles will be handed over to Ukraine, and "will serve for the protection of personnel, possibly for evacuation purposes", said a government source.

Up to 10,000 tonnes of fuel will also be sent through Poland to Ukraine, said the source.

Welcoming the decision, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted: "Keep it up, Chancellor Olaf Scholz!"

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