(Berlin) Under pressure for several days, Germany opened the way on Tuesday for allied countries to deliver the heavy Leopard tanks that Ukraine had requested, and promised to respond with “the required urgency” to Poland’s request in this sense.
And on Tuesday evening, two German media outlets, Spiegel and the NTV news channel, confirmed that Chancellor Olaf Scholz would give the go-ahead, possibly on Wednesday.
“Germany is sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine,” tweeted the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP), a member of the government coalition led by Mr Schultz.
The German leader, who is scheduled to speak at 7 a.m. EST Wednesday in the lower house of the German parliament, will approve countries, including Poland, that want to deliver Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv, according to this outlet.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Tuesday evening that “discussions must end with decisions.” In his daily address, he declared that “the allies have the required number of tanks” needed for the Ukrainian army to bring down troops in Moscow, emphasizing that “the needs are greater” than “five, ten or fifteen vehicles”.
Zelensky also defended the “necessary” decisions to create a “strong country” after a series of senior officials were removed from their posts in the wake of a corruption case involving army supplies.
Four deputy ministers, including Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov, as well as five governors and other officials, had to leave their posts in the wake of the affair.
In Berlin, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said he “explicitly encouraged partner countries that have Leopard tanks ready to deploy to train Ukrainian forces on these tanks” during a press conference in Berlin with Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general.
These statements constitute a step forward in Germany’s position, as Olaf Scholz’s government is under increasing pressure to allow partner countries that wish to do so to deliver these German-made tanks to Ukraine.
So far, Finland and Poland have declared that they are willing to do so. Warsaw, which wants to create a “coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks,” sent an official request to that effect, and Berlin confirmed its receipt on Tuesday.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki hoped for a quick response, lamenting that “the Germans are delaying, procrastinating, behaving in a way that is difficult to understand”.
Meanwhile, the NATO chief welcomed the “clear message” from Germany’s new defense minister, who has been in office for less than a week.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded that “such deliverables will not bring anything good” to Russian-German relations.
According to observers, these tanks are likely to have a significant impact on the Ukrainians in the face of the steam power of the Russian forces recapturing some territory on the eastern front of Ukraine.
Poland had warned on Monday that it was ready to do so without permission from Berlin. This country, which says it is ready to send 14 Leopard 2 to Kyiv, is discussing this with about 15 countries, and several European armies have these armored vehicles.
Fear of a military escalation with Moscow and his reluctance to make Germany take the lead in the Western camp explains the Chancellor’s hesitation, according to analysts.
Corruption overtook Ukraine
For Ukraine, military and financial support from Western allies is crucial. It says it needs hundreds of modern tanks and other weapons to launch a new offensive.
Today marks exactly eleven months since the start of Total War. 335H day. A day we go through like 334HPresident Zelensky said:
This day is also marked by the return of the evil raging in this country: corruption.
In addition to the deputy defense minister, the deputy for social policy and two others from regional development have been removed from their posts following an alleged corruption scandal involving army supplies, the first of this magnitude since February 24, 2022.
Other recent expulsions occurred in Ukraine, which ranked 122ndH It was ranked 180th in the NGO Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2021.
On Sunday, Deputy Infrastructure Minister Vasyl Lozinski was arrested, accused of taking a $400,000 bribe to “facilitate” the purchase of generators at inflated prices, as his country faces massive power outages following Russian strikes on power facilities.
Mr. Zelensky also asked Emmanuel Macron not to allow Russian athletes to participate in the 2024 Paris Olympics, during a telephone interview with the French head of state.
In Russia, the authorities finally, for the first time since the start of hostilities eleven months ago, gave a tally of Russian civilian casualties in a border region with Ukraine: according to Moscow, 25 people were killed and nearly 100 injured by Ukrainians. Fire in the Belgorod region.