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Zelensky: We need even more tanks to turn the tide against Putin

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Jay

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OE Biden has announced that the US is to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, as Germany previously vowed to send 2 Leopard tanks.

The US President said on Wednesday that the US would send “the most capable tanks in the world” that are needed to help the Ukrainians “improve their ability to maneuver in open terrain”.

It came after Volodymyr Zelensky made his call on Wednesday for the West to rapidly supply hundreds of battle tanks to Ukraine, as Vladimir Putin’s forces prepare to launch a spring offensive.

In his nightly address, Mr. Zelensky thanked Ukraine’s allies for their support against Putin’s bloody invasion. But he is calling for 300 tanks to forcefully turn the tide of war against Russia.

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“It is not about five or 10 or 15 tanks. The requirement is high,” he said. “Every day we are doing everything necessary to fill the deficit. Discussions need to end with decisions. Really a decision to strengthen our defense against terrorists.”

He also stressed the need for “speed of implementation” of military equipment promises.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced on Wednesday morning that Berlin would supply Ukraine with its Leopard 2 tanks, overcoming misgivings about sending the heavy weaponry that Kyiv is critical to defeating a Russian offensive, but Moscow dismissed as an unnecessary one. Cast as stimulus.

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He also gave the green light to other allies including Poland, Spain and Norway to send their German-made Leopards.

“This decision follows our well-known line of support to Ukraine to the best of our ability. We are working in a closely coordinated manner internationally,” Mr. Scholz said in a statement after a cabinet meeting.

The goal was to quickly establish two battalions with Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine, stating that Germany would provide 14 Leopard 2 tanks from military stocks in the first phase. stock.

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Training of Ukrainian soldiers in Germany will start soon and Berlin will also provide logistics and ammunition. Rishi Sunak welcomed Germany’s decision, saying that with the UK’s Challenger 2s “they will strengthen Ukraine’s defensive firepower”.

Germany was ready to send about 14 Leopards, Poland and other allies were also supplying this model of tank to Kyiv. Britain has already promised to send 14 Challenger 2 tanks.

Mr Zelensky said he was “sincerely grateful” for Berlin’s “important and timely” decision to provide Kyiv with battle tanks.

But the number was expected to fall short of the 300 requested by Kyiv, although it may soon recover.

“A few hundred tanks for our tank crews,” urged Andrey Yermak, the head of Mr. Zelensky’s administration. “This is what is going to be the real punching fist of democracy.”

Military experts said the West was in a race against time to deliver the tanks to Ukraine and train its forces to successfully operate and deploy them against a Russian spring offensive.

Retired British general Sir Richard Barons, former head of Joint Forces Command, said: “It will make a big difference that Ukraine is able to defend the region from incoming Russian invasions, although it is a big question mark whether it will make enough of a difference.” Will reach on time this year.

But he argued: “This number is not enough to allow Ukraine to go on the offensive, where it will seek at least three times, maybe seven times, superiority in the number of Russian tanks.” The timing of delivery of the specifically American tanks was unclear, and could potentially be months.

Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said Washington’s possible delivery of battle tanks to Ukraine would be “another blatant provocation” against his country.

Putin may respond to the deployment of tanks with another military atrocity. With tensions between the West and Russia at their worst in decades, the Russian Defense Ministry also said today that the frigate Admiral Gorshkov had tested its strike capabilities in the western Atlantic.

The ministry said the frigate had run a computer simulation on hypersonic Zircon missiles. Zircon missiles have a range of 560 miles, and can travel at several times the speed of sound, making them difficult to defend against. The statement did not say that the frigate had launched the missile.

But the West appeared united in supplying tanks against Putin’s offensive, which has entered its 12th month and killed tens of thousands of civilians.

More than 100,000 Russian soldiers are estimated to have been killed or wounded, with similar casualty levels among Ukraine’s military.

Washington was ready to begin a process that would eventually send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, two US officials said, just days after it argued against accepting Kyiv’s requests on the grounds that these vehicles It would be difficult to maintain in a war zone. A third official said the US commitment could total 30 tanks.

The battle front, which stretches for more than 1,000 km (620 mi) in eastern and southern Ukraine, has been largely frozen for two months despite heavy losses on both sides. Russia and Ukraine are believed to be planning new attacks.

The Russian-installed governor of Ukraine’s Donetsk region in eastern Donbass claimed that units of the Wagner Private Military Company were making progress in the town of Bakhmut, with fighting ongoing in a previously Ukrainian-held neighborhood.

(translate to tag) Kyiv

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