Germany faces backlash for refusing to provide tanks to Ukraine

Germany faced strong backlash from allies on Saturday for refusing to supply Ukraine with its vaunted Leopard tanks to boost its combat capabilities in a nearly year-long war with Russia.

On Friday, about 50 countries agreed to provide Kyiv with billions of dollars worth of military equipment, including enough armored vehicles and ammunition needed to repel Russian forces.

However, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told bystanders of the event at Ramstein Air Base in the United States that, despite the heightened expectations, “when and how the decision will be made regarding Leopard. “I don’t know yet what decisions will be made,” he said. tank. “

On Saturday, several allies echoed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying tanks were essential to Ukraine’s fight against a much larger neighbor.

In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of the three Baltic states said in a rare public criticism of a top European power, “I urge Germany to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine now.”

“This is necessary to stop Russian aggression, help Ukraine and quickly restore peace in Europe. Germany, as a major European power, has a special responsibility in this regard,” said Latvia. ‘s Foreign Minister Edgars Linkevich tweeted.

Germany is hesitant to send the leopards or allow other countries to transfer them to Kyiv. Says.

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, who is currently visiting Kyiv, has asked both sides for supplies of the machines.

“To the Germans: send tanks to Ukraine because they need them. (Russian President Vladimir) It is in your own national interest that Putin loses in Ukraine.”

“(U.S. President Joe) To the Biden Administration: Send America’s tanks and let others follow our lead,” he said.

Ahead of Friday’s Ukraine contact group meeting, a U.S.-led group of about 50 countries providing weapons to Ukraine, Germany said at least that other countries operating the Leopards would hand them over to the Kyiv army. Expectations were high that they would agree to be allowed.


In Kyiv on Saturday, Zelensky attended the funerals of his interior minister and other officials who died in a helicopter crash outside the capital on Wednesday.

Denis Monastyrsky, who was one of Zelensky’s entourage as Minister of the Interior, became the highest-ranking Ukrainian government official to die in the war started by Russia on February 24, 2022.

The cause of the helicopter crash that killed him and 13 people when Chopper crashed near a kindergarten is still under investigation.

Eleven months after the invasion, Ukraine is still facing an uphill battle against Russian forces, which make up one-fifth of the country, according to US officials.

But they spoke of the possibility of a campaign by Ukraine to retake some of its land in the coming weeks.

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley pointed to the large amount of equipment Ukraine had promised at Ramstein, mostly armored vehicles and artillery, and the extensive training of its forces by allies.

“I think it is very likely that the Ukrainians will carry out significant tactical or operational-level offensive operations to liberate as much Ukrainian territory as possible,” Milly said.

But the Kremlin warned on Friday that Western tanks would be of little use on the battlefield.

“The importance of such supplies in terms of their ability to change something should not be overstated,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.