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BERLIN: Germany has approved the deliveries of 400 anti-tank rocket launchers to Ukraine, a government source said Saturday, in a U-turn from its longstanding policy of banning weapon exports to conflict zones.

“Given the Russian attack on Ukraine, the government is prepared to release urgently needed material for the defence of Ukraine,” the source said in a statement.

The anti-tank launchers will be delivered through the Netherlands, which had purchased the equipment from Germany but which had required Berlin’s green light to transfer the weapons to Kyiv.

Besides the anti-tank launchers, 14 armoured vehicles have been approved for Ukraine. The vehicles will be handed over to Ukrainian services, and “will serve for the protection of personnel, possibly for evacuation purposes”, said the source.

Up to 10,000 tonnes of fuel will also be transferred through Poland to Ukraine, said the source, adding that other “possible support services is now being examined”.

Kyiv has for weeks been pleading with Germany to send armaments to help it to face down an invasion by Russia. Berlin’s obstinate refusal until now to approve weapon deliveries, and a previous decision to send only 5,000 helmets, had sparked anger and mockery.

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