Despite German reluctance, Ukraine expressed optimism about receiving tanks

When Germany was frustrated that it appeared to be hesitant to send advanced Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said they believed it will only be a matter of time before sophisticated weapons appear.

Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said he was “optimistic” that Germany would decide to allow the transfer of Leopards and that his country’s army would begin tank training in Poland in the meantime, although Poland did not immediately confirm that.

“Countries that already have Leopard tanks can begin training missions for our tank fleet,” he said. speaking to Voice of America’s Ukrainian department on Friday. “We’ll start with that, and we’ll go from there.”

Many Western defense officials meeting in Germany on Friday had hoped to reach an agreement to send German-made tanks, which are stockpiled by many European countries and Ukraine as crucial to the war effort. their paintings. But the meeting ended without a decision from Germanyhas so far opposed sending its own Leopards to Ukraine or granting other countries the necessary approvals to export them.

Germany has also pushed for the United States to send some of its own tanks, but on Saturday the criticism largely fell on Berlin.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, said that “indecision is killing more of our people”.

“In any case, you will help Ukraine with the necessary weapons and realize that there is no other option to end the war,” he said. wrote on Twitter, added: “Every day of delay is the death of Ukrainians. Think faster.”

The Polish Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation that it would hold training for Ukrainian troops, but Polish officials have urged Germany to clear the way for the Leopards. The Polish government says it is willing to send some of its own, though Legally, it needs German signing on any such move.

Ukraine’s calls for tanks and more weapons from the West have become more urgent in the face of an expected Russian attack in the spring. And the recent Russian claim to have captured the small towns of Soledar and Klishchiivka – part of a broader effort to capture the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine – has added increasing pressure.

While the war was generally “at a stalemate”, the British Ministry of Defense say on saturdayit warned that there was a “real possibility of local Russian attacks around Bakhmut.”

Mr. Zelensky, who called in a video speech to defense officials gathered on Friday in Germany to make a decision on tanks, stressed that time is of the essence.

“We will still have to struggle to get a supply of modern tanks, but every day we are showing more clearly that there is no other way but to make a decision on tanks,” he said. in his overnight address, adding: “The only thing worth emphasizing is time, delivery time. Every deal has to be done as quickly as possible.”

Some of Ukraine’s allies also called for swift action on Saturday while continuing to put pressure on Germany. In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania urged Germany to “deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine now”.

“This is necessary to prevent Russian aggression, help Ukraine and restore peace in Europe quickly,” they said. in statements posted on Twitter. “Germany as Europe’s leading power has a special responsibility in this regard.”

Germany was reluctant to send some of its Leopard 2 tanks without Washington’s commitment to send at least one of their M1 Abrams tank numbers. Washington has opposed sending Abrams tanks, saying they use jet fuel and are difficult to maintain. The Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, said on Friday that he had no announcement on whether that stance would change.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who has been vocal about sending more weapons to Ukraine and was in Kiev on Friday, said he was “tired of the damn show around who’s going to get it.” send tanks and when will they ship. to send them.”

“To the Germans: Send the tanks to Ukraine because they need them. Putin’s loss in Ukraine is in your own national interest,” he said. wrote on Twitter late Friday. “To the Biden Administration: Send American tanks so others will follow our lead.”

When asked by a reporter on Friday if he supported the call to send Poland’s Leopards, President Biden answered briefly. “Ukraine will get all the help they need,” he say.


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