Germany took a step this Tuesday (24) towards the delivery of Leopard tanks to Kiev, encouraging its allies to train Ukrainian soldiers to handle these insistently requested vehicles to face the Russian invasion.
“I expressly encouraged Allied countries that have Leopard tanks ready to train Ukrainian forces in these tanks,” said Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, who received NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin on Tuesday.
Kiev insistently asks for the delivery of these tanks in order to more effectively repel the Russian invasion. Many NATO countries have Leopard tanks, but to deliver them to Ukraine requires authorization from Berlin, which is still pending despite pressure in recent days.
Pistorius said on Tuesday that a decision could be imminent and could happen “shortly”.
The Kremlin has warned that delivering the tanks to Ukraine will bring “nothing good for the future of relations” between Russia and Germany.
Stoltenberg also said he expected a decision on the Leopard “soon” and welcomed the German minister’s “clear message”, “because when a decision is taken on the delivery of tanks, it will take time to have them ready” to operate. On the ground.
“We have to give Ukraine heavier and more advanced systems, and we have to do it faster,” Stoltenberg emphasized, noting that time is running out because Moscow seems unwilling to change course.
“We have no indications that President (Vladimir) Putin has changed plans (…). The only way to achieve lasting peace is to make it clear to Putin that he will not win on the battlefield,” Stoltenberg said in Berlin.
Pistorius had previously said, in statements to the ZDF channel, that Germany supports Ukraine “so that it wins this war against Russia”.
The decision on the delivery of the Leopards rests with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s team, he added.
Poland stepped up the pressure on Tuesday, announcing it had officially asked Germany for permission to send its Leopard tanks to Ukraine. The day before, Warsaw had said it would send this material even without Berlin’s permission.
“Germany has already received our request for consent to transfer Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine,” said Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak.
Dismissals due to corruption
On Tuesday, 11 months after the start of the Russian invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky urged his troops to maintain high morale and “unite all our forces in search of one thing, victory”.
Zelensky faces a difficult time, however, with the resignation of several senior officials on Tuesday after the Defense Ministry was accused of awarding contracts to supply the army at overpriced prices.
Among the ousted officials are Deputy Defense Minister Viacheslav Shapovalov, in charge of logistical support to the Armed Forces, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, Kirilo Timoshenko, and Deputy Attorney General Oleksii Simonenko.
Likewise, five regional governors and three other deputy ministers were dismissed due to this same scandal.