Ukraine to Receive US-Made Mobile Rocket Systems Paid by Germany

(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine will receive three HIMARS mobile rocket systems from US stocks with Germany footing the bill, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Thursday.

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Pistorius, who revealed the plan after talks with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon, said the idea emerged during the extended wait for $61 billion in US aid to Ukraine. Congress passed the assistance as part of a national security package in April.

“Time was of the essence,” Pistorius told reporters. “So we offered to take over, pay for and deliver three systems from US army stocks.”

HIMARS, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp., has proven effective against Russian supply routes and ammunition dumps far behind the front lines.

In Washington, Pistorius sought to convey the message that Germany was taking on greater military responsibilities, including in the defense industry, since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

This year, Germany will spend the most on defense since its post-Nazi armed forces were established after World War II, he said.

“We understand what is at stake,” he said in a speech to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “We cannot simply watch and wait as international law, our order and our values are being destroyed.”

“We are paying our share,” he said.

Pistorius, a Social Democrat like German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, also said he favors returning Germany to “some kind of military conscription.”

Germany suspended compulsory military service in 2011 under then-Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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