Germany pressed tanks for Ukraine; Kyiv expresses disappointment

BERLIN (AP) – Germany is going through mounting strain over the availability of battle tanks to Kyiv, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed frustration at not getting sufficient weapons as Western allies debated Thursday on how finest to assist Ukraine, almost 11 months after the invasion Russia.

Just hours after taking workplace, the brand new German Defense Secretary, Boris Pistorius, welcomed US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Berlin. He acknowledged that the German weapons methods delivered up to now have proved their worth and that “we will continue to support Ukraine in the future together with our partners in its struggle for freedom, territorial independence and sovereignty.”

At the identical time, he didn’t point out the Leopard 2 tanks, which Ukraine has been searching for for a very long time. As the UK introduced final week that it could ship Tanks Challenger 2Berlin is going through mounting strain to produce battle tanks, or a minimum of clear the best way for different international locations like Poland to produce German-made Leopards from their very own shares.

On Friday, on the American Ramstein Air Base in Austin, Germany, a daily coordination assembly of senior officers of the protection departments of Ukraine’s Western allies can be held. He stated “we will reaffirm our joint commitment to support Ukraine’s self-defense in the long term” however didn’t point out any particular new gear.

Speaking through video hyperlink at a breakfast on the sidelines of the annual assembly of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Zelenskiy issued a veiled critique of key supporters similar to Germany and the US who’re nonetheless hesitant to ship tanks.

He lamented the “lack of dedicated weapons” and stated that so as to win the warfare “we can’t just do it with motivation and morale”.

Speaking on the Victor Pinchuk Foundation breakfast by means of an interpreter, he stated: “There are times when we shouldn’t hesitate or compare, when someone says, ‘I’ll give tanks if someone else shares their tanks.’

Ukraine’s foreign and defense ministers said in a joint statement that the Challenger 2 tanks the UK plans to deliver, while welcome, are “not adequate to fulfill operational aims.”

“We guarantee that we will use these weapons responsibly and exclusively in order to protect the territorial integrity of Ukraine within internationally recognized borders,” said Dmitry Kuleba and Oleksiy Reznikov in an appeal to Germany and a number of other countries using the German-made Leopard. 2 to join the “worldwide tank coalition”.

For months, Ukraine has been pushing for heavier vehicles like the US Leopard and Abrams tanks, but Western leaders have been cautious.

Germany has been in the spotlight in recent days. Critics, some of whom are part of Germany’s ruling coalition, have long lamented Chancellor O. Jaf Scholz’s seeming hesitation about taking the next step when it comes to arms shipments.

Scholz was wary of such pressure, insisting that Germany would not act alone and pointing out the need to ensure that NATO did not become a party to the war with Russia, although so far Berlin had moved forward every time. He pictured its careful weighing each step as virtual.

On Wednesday in Davos, Scholz evaded a direct question about the Leopard tanks, saying that Germany would remain one of Ukraine’s main arms suppliers and that “we by no means do something on our personal, however along with others – particularly with the United States.” .

German officials expressed their hesitation about allowing the Allies to hand over German-made Leopards unless the US also sends Abrams to Ukraine, according to a US official who was not authorized to comment and spoke on condition of anonymity. Upcoming new US military aid package It is expected to include about 100 Stryker fighting vehicles and at least 50 Bradley armored vehicles, but not the Abrams, which US officials say requires heavy maintenance and may not be the best option.

Austin revealed on Twitter that he also plans to meet with Scholz’s chief of staff Wolfgang Schmidt in Berlin.

“I think it’s not about no longer acting alone, but about not being alone,” Wolfgang Ischinger, the former German ambassador to the United States, said on Deutschlandfunk radio about the calls for German tanks.

Some eastern NATO allies have provided Soviet-era T-72 tanks to Ukrainian forces, but officials acknowledge that supplies of Soviet-era equipment that Ukrainian forces were already familiar with are limited.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine’s Western supporters will discuss ways to supply heavier and more advanced weapons this week.

“The main message will be: more support, more advanced support, heavier weaponry and more modern weaponry,” Stoltenberg said of Friday’s meeting.

The defense ministers of Britain, Poland and the Baltic states were scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon in Estonia on the eve of this meeting.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Thursday that his country had decided to send up to 50 Swedish-made combat vehicles to Ukraine, as well as a man-portable anti-tank missile system and an Archer artillery system.

Estonia announced what it says is the largest military aid package to date, including howitzers, ammunition, artillery support equipment and grenade launchers.


Jamie Kiten reported from Davos, Switzerland. Associated Press reporter Aamer Madhani in Washington DC and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark contributed to this report.


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