Berlin (dpa) – Germany has supplied a third powerful IRIS-T air defence system to Ukraine as the country braces for another possible Russian missile onslaught this winter.
The system – comprising three launchers, a radar sensor, and a generator, plus the associated missiles – was handed over this week, the Defence Ministry in Berlin said on Friday.
In his daily video address in the evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his gratitude for the “very strong package from Germany.”
“This will greatly help our soldiers and the defence of our cities,” said Zelensky.
He had also discussed air defence and the fight against drones with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a phone call, he said.
Ukraine will also receive spare parts and technical logistical support for the IRIS-T.
Commenting on the delivery earlier, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius stressed Germany’s continued support for Ukraine as it fights to repel Russian forces that invaded in February 2022.
“We can be relied on and we are doing everything possible. This war will not be forgotten,” Pistorius said. The IRIS-T is “essential for the protection of Ukraine,” he added.
According to the manufacturer Diehl Defence, the IRIS-T SLM system protects against attacks by aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, and short-range ballistic missiles.
Capable of hitting targets at an altitude of up to 20 kilometres and at a range of 40 kilometres, the system effectively creates a protective screen over a wide area.
Attacks on Ukraine’s power grid last winter left millions without power and inflicted an estimated $8.8 billion in damages to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, according to the Kyiv School of Economics.