Pistorius NATO summit in LithuaniaImage: Bundesregierung/Denzel Pistorius NATO summit in LithuaniaImage: Bundesregierung/Denzel

Pistorius: 2024 budget for military assistance to Ukraine has been fully bound

Germany has committed around €7.1 billion in military aid to Ukraine this year, thereby being Ukraine’s largest donor and supporter with military aid in Europe. It was a significant and necessary increase in funds for military aid compared to the previous year to enable Ukraine to effectively defend itself against the Russian armed forces in 2024.

The question whether the funds approved for 2024 would be sufficient to achieve this goal can now officially be answered with “no”. Already on Saturday evening, BILD exclusively reported that of the funds approved for this year, only around €300 million are still available — i.e. not yet earmarked or contractually committed.

This means that the German government would only have €300 million available for unplanned but necessary military aid to Ukraine over the next approximately six months.

Unacceptable, both for Ukraine and for us. After all, important politicians — above all the German Minister of Defence — have always underlined that Germany is not lacking financial resources, but industrial capacities.

For this reason, according to BILD, the Ministry of Defence is now asking for a whopping €3.8 billion in additional funds, which would increase the annual budget to support Ukraine with military aid to around €10.9 billion. The over-budget expenditure is to be submitted to parliament for approval in June.

To put this sum in perspective, it is enough to finance four urgently needed Patriot batteries including missiles and spare parts, 27 IRIS-T SLM systems, the entire Czech ammunition initiative or, as a final example, Germany would like to follow suit with more money than France has earmarked in its entire budget for 2024!

IRIS-T SLM launcher in Ukraine
An entire IRIS-T SLM system costs around €140 million

So we should be eagerly awaiting the decisions that will be made in June. At least the first part of the BILD report, that there are practically no funds left, was confirmed today by Germany’s Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius during his meetings with the Ministers of Defence from Latvia and Lithuania.

During the press statement with the Latvian Minister of Defence, he explained that contracts worth “a little bit more than €7 billion” had already been concluded this year to support Ukraine “as much as possible”.

This money is now bound. Pistorius further explained, that if the German government now wanted to do more, they would need additional funds. This is what he underlined and this is currently being negotiated.

It remains unclear to whom he underlined this, but BILD reported that he had already met with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Minister of Finance Christian Lindner in this regard last week.

Interestingly, BILD reported that the German government still had €300 million available, while Pistorius himself indicated that they were practically left with nothing.

Officially, he also did not want to confirm or comment on the amount of the additional funding that has now been requested by his ministry. Either way, it remains questionable whether he will receive the full €3.8 billion, assuming he really did ask for this sum.

It is quite possible that he will only be given part of the funds. However, this is still a future scenario and anyone who knows the minister knows that he is fighting for what he needs, and he was and still is a strong supporter of Ukraine.

I am therefore optimistic that I will be able to announce a significant increase in the annual budget of the security capacity building initiative next month, as there is basically no real alternative.

However, I have a question: if we have committed over €7 billion in military aid and this has actually already got bound, what is the situation for other (particularly economically strong) countries that have pledged much less for 2024 and are not increasing their budgets?

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