President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is again pleaded It called for accelerating the deployment of modern heavy weapons, including tanks, in cooperation with Ukrainian allies. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has urged Western powers to “dig deeper” to help Kyiv forces stem a Russian offensive in the fiercely fought east.
addressing meeting Zelensky, of the Ukrainian Defense Liaison Group at the U.S. Air Force Base Ramstein in Germany, said on Jan. 20 that the allies should “rather than negotiate a difference in tank numbers, but launch a major supply that will stop evil.” said.
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The rally is the latest in a series of arms pledge meetings since Russia invaded Ukraine last February, with Germany supplying Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, or at least giving other allies German-made tanks. tanks. Tanks from their own stock.
“Terrorism does not allow discussion,” Zelensky said at the rally, adding that “the war started by Russia does not allow delay.”
Austin said at the conference that Ukraine faces a race against time or that the Russian onslaught and Western aid to Kyiv must come more quickly.
“Russia is regrouping, recruiting and re-equipping,” Austin said at the beginning of the conference.
“Now is not the time to slow down. It’s time to dig deeper. The Ukrainian people are watching us,” he said.
Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley discuss with allies the latest $2.5 billion worth of military aid to Ukraine announced by the Pentagon on Jan. 19. This includes Stryker armored vehicles for the first time, but not tanks.
Zelensky on January 19 handle In an interview with public broadcaster ARD, the German leader said directly:
Washington has refused to offer its own M1 Abrams tank for the time being, arguing that high-tech US tanks require extensive and complex maintenance, posing significant logistical challenges.
The United States said it would be more productive to send the Leopards, which many allied forces are already using.
Americans argue that the Ukrainian military would only need to train on Leopards and would avoid longer and more difficult training for Abrams.
Austin met with Germany’s newly appointed Defense Minister Boris Pistorius in Berlin prior to the January 20 talks. It was not clear whether the tank issue was discussed during the meeting.
But Pistorius told ARD that he was “almost certain to make a decision on this.” [tank issue] However, I cannot tell you what it will be like today.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said so far out of fear that if the West sends long-range weapons to Kyiv, it could provoke Moscow, which has warned against a “very dangerous” escalation. , opposed to the dispatch of Leopard tanks.
Zelensky’s senior adviser, Mikhaylo Podoljak, objected to the German approach.
“True leadership is not about respecting others, it’s about setting an example. There are no taboos,” Podoljak said. on Twitter“From Washington to London, from Paris to Warsaw, you hear one thing: Ukraine needs tanks. Tanks are the key to ending the war properly. It’s time to stop shaking.” I was. [Russian President Vladimir] Take the final step with Putin. ”
Britain announced last week that it would send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said at a briefing on Jan. 19 that the Leopards and Challengers would not be able to match Abrams because Abrams is much harder to maintain.
“It’s a maintenance issue. So this is a tank that needs jet fuel, but the Leopard and Challenger are different engines.” Leopard and Challenger are “a little easier to maintain,” Singh says.
The latest U.S. aid package for Ukraine announced by the Pentagon includes eight Avenger air defense systems, 350 Humvees, 53 mine-resistant ambush protection (MRAP) vehicles, over 100,000 rounds and rockets, and high mobility. Includes artillery missiles. rocket system.
Several Western allies have said they support sending modern heavy weapons to Ukraine, including tanks.
Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski said on January 20 that Poland was ready to take “non-standard” actions if Germany opposed sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
See: Officials said 14 people, including a child, were killed, along with the Ukrainian interior minister and other officials who were flying by helicopter. Many children were injured.
In an interview with Polish radio, Jablonski was asked if the supply of tanks to Ukraine would be possible despite German objections. Jablonski said, “I think I’m ready to take even such non-standard actions if there is strong resistance.. But don’t predict the facts.”
Meanwhile, on January 19, the representatives of the nine countries issued a joint statement that they “will jointly pursue the handover of an unprecedented series of donations to the Ukrainian defense, including main battle tanks, heavy artillery, air defense, ammunition and infantry fighting vehicles. promise. “
of Joint statement The Defense Ministers of Great Britain, Estonia, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania and representatives of Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Slovakia met in Tallinn.
Meanwhile, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, in its daily update on the battlefield situation on January 20, said that in the past Ukrainian forces had repelled a total of 16 attacks by Russian forces in the three regions of Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhia. Stated. 24hours.
The chief of staff said Russian forces continue to concentrate firepower on Bakhmut and Avdyivka in Donetsk, where Ukrainian forces have been pitching battles for months.
With reporting by AP, Reuters, dpa, and AFP