Ukraine war
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Ukrainian artillerymen on the road in Donetsk region on Saturday. Photo: AFP

‘Global indecision killing more of our people’: Ukraine blasts allies

  • On Friday, some 50 nations agreed to provide Kyiv with military hardware. On Saturday, Germany refused to supply its vaunted Leopard tanks
  • ‘Today’s indecision is killing more of our people,’ Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. ‘Every day of delay is the death of Ukrainians’
Ukraine war

Ukraine on Saturday blasted the “global indecision” of its allies after Germany refused to supply its vaunted Leopard tanks to bolster Kyiv’s fighting capacity in the nearly year-long war with Russia.

On Friday, some 50 nations agreed to provide Kyiv with billions of dollars’ worth of military hardware, including armoured vehicles and munitions needed to push back Russian forces.

German Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius at the US Ramstein Airbase in Germany on Saturday. Photo: dpa

But German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said that despite heightened expectations, “We still cannot say when a decision will be taken, and what the decision will be, when it comes to the Leopard tank.”

“Today’s indecision is killing more of our people,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted.

“Every day of delay is the death of Ukrainians. Think faster,” he said.

Several allies echoed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in saying the tanks were essential to Ukraine’s fight with its much larger neighbour.

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In a joint statement the foreign ministers of the three Baltic states urged Germany “to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine now.

“This is needed to stop Russian aggression, help Ukraine and restore peace in Europe quickly,” said a message tweeted by Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics and endorsed by his Estonian and Lithuanian counterparts.

“Germany as the leading European power has special responsibility in this regard.”

In Berlin, hundreds of people demonstrated outside the Federal Chancellery building calling for Germany to send tanks to Ukraine.


‘Take cover, hide!’: Ukrainian father recalls moment helicopter crashed into kindergarten

‘Take cover, hide!’: Ukrainian father recalls moment helicopter crashed into kindergarten

Berlin has been hesitant to send the Leopards or allow other nations to transfer them to Kyiv.

Reports earlier in the week indicated Germany would agree to do so only if the US provided its tanks as well. Washington has said providing its Abrams tanks to Ukraine is not feasible, citing difficulties in training and maintenance.

But expectations had grown ahead of Friday’s Ukraine Contact Group meeting of around 50 US-led countries that Germany would at least agree to let other countries operating Leopards transfer them to Kyiv’s army.

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US Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who is currently visiting Kyiv, called on both countries to supply the machines.

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

“To the (US President Joe) Biden Administration: Send American tanks so that others will follow our lead,” he said.

The pleas came as the Russian army said its troops had launched an offensive in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, where fighting intensified this week after several months of an almost frozen front.

In its daily report on Saturday, Moscow’s forces said they had carried out “offensive operations” in the region and claimed to have “taken more advantageous lines and positions”.

Ukrainian soldiers take part in military drills in Donetsk region on Saturday. Photo: AFP

Russia also said it had held a training exercise on repelling air attacks in the Moscow region, using an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.

Ukraine’s defence ministry reported 26 air strikes and 15 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems on Saturday.

“The enemy does not abandon its aggressive plans, focusing its main efforts on attempts to fully occupy the Donetsk region,” on Ukraine’s border with Russia, it said.

In Kyiv, Zelensky attended the funeral of his interior minister and other officials killed in a helicopter crash outside the capital on Wednesday.

US officials said Ukraine still faced an uphill battle against Russian forces who occupy one-fifth of the country 11 months after invading.

But they spoke of a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive in the coming weeks to retake parts of its territory.

Allies offer more weapons to Ukraine, but no decisions made on tanks

US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley pointed to the substantial amount of equipment – much of it armoured vehicles and artillery – that Ukraine was being pledged at Ramstein, as well as the large-scale training of its forces by allies.

“I do think it’s very possible for the Ukrainians to run a significant tactical or even operational-level offensive operation to liberate as much Ukrainian territory as possible,” Milley said.

But the Kremlin warned on Friday that Western tanks would make little difference on the battlefield.

“One should not exaggerate the importance of such supplies in terms of the ability to change something,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.