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Ukraine’s Zelensky appeals for fast delivery of Western tanks

26.01.2023 07:00
The Ukrainian president has thanked Germany and the United States for their decision to provide his country with Western tanks, and urged “speed and volume” in the delivery of the new weapons. 
Volodymyr Zelensky.
Volodymyr Zelensky.PAP/EPA/Sergey Dolzhenko

Volodymyr Zelensky’s remarks came in a video address to the nation on Wednesday night. 

He said: “Today is a day of extremely good news for Ukraine. There is a tank coalition. There is a decision to launch the supply of tanks for our defence. Modern tanks.

Earlier in the day, US President Joe Biden approved the supply of 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, while Germany confirmed it would make 14 of its Leopard 2A6 tanks available to Ukraine, as well as allow partner countries to re-export further tanks, news outlets reported.

Berlin’s move unlocks pledges by Poland, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Spain to provide Ukraine with their own German-made Leopards, Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported.

Zelensky said: “I am grateful to all our allies for their willingness to provide us with modern and much-needed tanks.”

He added: “The key thing now is speed and volume. The speed of training of our military, the speed of supplying tanks to Ukraine. The volume of tank support.”

Fighter jets for Ukraine?

Zelensky also told the nation he held talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday.

He said: “We have to unlock the supply of long-range missiles to Ukraine. It is important for us to expand our cooperation in artillery. We have to achieve the supply of aircraft to Ukraine.”

Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he had spoken to Poland’s top diplomat Zbigniew Rau about the supply of ‘Western-type fighter jets” to help his country fight the Russian invasion. 

Meanwhile, Yuriy Sak, an aide to Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, was cited as saying that fighter jets would be “the next big hurdle.”

Sak said, as quoted by The Guardian: "If we get them, the advantages on the battlefield will be just immense. It’s not just F-16s. Fourth generation aircraft, this is what we want."

An internal debate among Ukraine’s Western allies about supplying Kyiv with fighter jets is already under way, the Politico news service reported on Thursday morning. 

Thursday is day 337 of Russia’s war against Ukraine. 


Source: president.gov.ua, Reuters, The Guardian, politico.eu