BERLIN/KIEV (Reuters) – The United States was due to announce on Wednesday that it would send heavy tanks to Ukraine. Will Russia redesign war?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday urged allies to equip their forces with 5 to 15 of his modern tanks, hours before his 45th birthday.
“Debate must end with a decision,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address. “Decision on real strengthening of defense against terrorists. Allies have the necessary number of tanks.”
Days after Washington opposed meeting Kyiv’s demands, it was finally ready to begin the process of sending M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine. A third official said US commitments could lead to the delivery of about 30 tanks in the coming months.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Olaf Scholz has decided to send Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine and allow other countries like Poland to do the same, two of his sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. told to
According to Der Spiegel, which first reported the news, Germany would normally deliver 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks to at least one company of his. Other allies, such as Scandinavia, intend to help Germany deliver Leopard tanks to Kyiv, the magazine reported.
There have been no official confirmations from Berlin or Washington, but Kyiv officials say the current 11-month war is a potential battlefield game-changer, even if rumored tank numbers fall short of expectations. I welcome your explanation. “Hundreds of tanks for our tank crews … It will be a real slap in the face of democracy,” Zelensky’s government head Andriy Yermak wrote in Telegram.
For months, Kyiv has been advocating Western tanks, which it says will give its own forces the firepower and maneuverability to breach Russian defenses and retake occupied territories to the east and south. , has reached out, fearing a move that could escalate Moscow.
His more than 1,000-kilometer front in eastern and southern Ukraine has been largely frozen for two months, despite heavy casualties on both sides. It is widely believed that Russia and Ukraine are planning another attack.
Zelenskyy said on Tuesday night Russia stepped up its attacks on the industrial city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. “They want to build pressure on a bigger scale,” he said.
The question of whether to supply Ukraine with a significant number of modern heavy tanks has recently dominated debate among the Western allies in Kyiv.
The Kremlin said the supply of tanks to Ukraine would be useless and the West would regret the “illusion” that Kyiv could win the battlefield.
Berlin was of great importance as his Leopards, made in Germany and used by about 20 armies around the world, are widely considered to be the best option. Tanks are available in large numbers and are easy to deploy and maintain.
U.S. Abrams tanks are seen as less suitable due to their high fuel consumption and difficult maintenance, but a move by the U.S. to send them to Ukraine could make it easier for Germany. Leopard. Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the “special military operation” that began when his troops invaded Ukraine on February 24 last year as a defensive and existential struggle against the aggressive and arrogant West. explained.
Ukraine and the West have called Russia’s actions a unilateral land grab to conquer another former Soviet republic, which Russia sees as an artificial state.
Separately, Ukraine fired more than a dozen senior officials on Tuesday as part of its anti-corruption campaign, made even more important by the need to keep Western supporters by its side.
The European Union, which nominated Ukraine last June, welcomed the development. Among the senior Ukrainian government officials who resigned or were dismissed were the governors of three frontline provinces: Kyiv, Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia. At the beginning of the war, Kyiv and Sumy were important battlefields.
Some, if not all, of the resigned officials were implicated in corruption allegations.
Ukraine has a history of bribery and shaky governance, and is under international pressure to prove it can be a trusted custodian of billions of dollars of aid from the West.