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Ukraine is waiting for the strong decisions of Western defense leaders regarding tanks

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his hope that the defense leaders of NATO and other countries, who meet on Friday, would reach “firm decisions” to enhance Ukraine’s ability to confront Russian forces with advanced battle tanks.

The meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany is the latest in a series since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly 11 months ago, at which future weapons supplies will be discussed, particularly German Leopard 2 tanks used by armies across Europe.

Berlin has veto power over any decision to export tanks, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government has so far seemed reluctant to allow it for fear of provoking Russia.

Some allies say Berlin’s concerns are misplaced, as Russia is already fully committed to the war, while Moscow has repeatedly said Western arms transfers would prolong the conflict and increase suffering in Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia relied mainly on Soviet-era T-72 tanks, which were destroyed by hundreds during the war that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched on February 24, describing it as a “special military operation” to protect Russia and Russia. Amplifiers.

Ukraine and its allies accuse Moscow of waging an unprovoked war to seize territory and erase the independence of a former Soviet republic and neighbor. Western countries have provided a steady supply of arms to Ukraine.

“In fact, we are now waiting for a decision from one of the European capitals, which will activate the chains of cooperation prepared for tanks,” Zelensky said in a video address on Thursday evening.

“We are preparing for the Ramstein meeting tomorrow. We expect strong decisions. We expect a strong military aid package from the United States,” he said.

US military assistance

On Thursday, the United States announced new military assistance to Ukraine amounting to $2.5 billion, including hundreds of armored vehicles and support for Ukraine’s air defense.

The US Department of Defense said in a statement that the assistance includes 59 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 90 Stryker armored personnel carriers. In total, the United States has committed more than $27.4 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion began.

German government sources said Berlin would take action on the Leopard issue if Washington agreed to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine. Abrams tanks were not included in Thursday’s US announcement.

The new German Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, said earlier that he did not know of any condition that Ukraine would simultaneously receive American and German tanks.

“I’m not aware of any such condition,” Pistorius told Germany’s ARD television when asked if that meant the Abrams and Leopards would have to be delivered at the same time, a post that leaves open the possibility of a deal on Friday.

Visiting CIA Director

Ukraine’s allies in the West wanted to avoid the emergence of NATO directly confronting Russia, and objected to sending their most powerful weapons to the Kyiv government.

Zelensky told ARD TV on Thursday that Ukraine needed the tanks to defend itself, to take back occupied territories, and was not planning to attack Russia.

“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 trembling in front of Putin and take the last step,” tweeted Zelensky’s adviser Mykhailo Podolak. .

Meanwhile, a US official told Reuters on Thursday that CIA Director William Burns had secretly traveled to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, to meet with Zelensky.

The official declined to disclose the date of the visit. The Washington Post, which first reported the visit, said it took place last weekend. The newspaper said Burns briefed Zelensky on his expectations about Russia’s military plans.

On Thursday evening, Ukrainian military officials said that fighting continued to intensify in the strategic industrial region known as Donbass on Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Russian forces bombed the town of Pakhmut, Russia’s main target in Donetsk Province, which together with Luhansk Province constitutes Donbass. Solidar, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Bakhmut, has come under fire – Russian forces say they control Solidar, while Ukrainian sources say its army is still fighting in Solidar.

“Ukrainian forces have practically succeeded in stabilizing the front around Bakhmut,” Ukrainian military analyst Olli Zhdanov said on YouTube.

“As of today, Russia is turning Solidar into a military hub. They are trying to redirect forces towards the towns of Spern and Belohorivka – just within the Luhansk region.”

Unfortunately, battlefield reports could not be verified.

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