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Germany, UK deliver battle tanks to Ukraine: officials

29.03.2023 09:30
A batch of 18 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany and the first Challenger 2 tanks from the UK have been sent to Ukraine to help Kyiv’s war effort against the Russian invasion, officials confirmed on Tuesday.
Photo:Bundeswehr-Fotos, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Germany delivered the 18 advanced main battle tanks after Ukrainian crews were trained to operate them, British broadcaster the BBC reported.

Eighteen is four more than previously agreed, according to news outlets. 

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said the Leopards 2s "have made it into the hands of our Ukrainian friends as promised and on time."

He added he was certain the Leopard 2s could "make a decisive contribution" on the frontlines of Ukraine’s war against the Russian assault.

Germany has also sent Ukraine two specialist tank-recovery vehicles and 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, according to the BBC.

Meanwhile, the first British Challenger 2 tanks have also been shipped to Ukraine, the country’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Tuesday.

Reznikov added that the UK main battle tanks would “soon begin combat missions.”  

Britain in January pledged to send 14 of the Challenger 2 machines to Ukraine, according to news outlets. 

Reznikov said in a tweet that the tanks had “recently arrived in our country” and attached a video showing him sitting in one of several tanks, with all of them flying the Ukrainian flag.

Zelensky invites China’s Xi Jinping to visit Ukraine

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has invited his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to visit Ukraine, British broadcaster Sky News reported on Wednesday morning.

Zelensky’s invitation comes after Xi’s recent visit to Russia.

Although the Chinese leader flew to Moscow, he stopped short of announcing any overt support for Russia's invasion, Sky News reported on its website.

Speaking in an interview with the AP news agency, published on Wednesday morning, Zelensky stated: "We are ready to see him here. I want to speak with him. I had contact with him before the full-scale war. But during all this year, more than one year, I didn't have."

The Ukrainian president also suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to move tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus was “an attempt to deflect from the fact” that Xi’s visit to Russia “did not go as he had hoped,” according to Sky News.

Meanwhile, Russia will build a nuclear weapons storage facility in Belarus, officials in Moscow have said. 

Zelensky described Putin as an "informationally isolated person" who had "lost everything" over the war.

"He doesn't have allies," Zelensky said.

Wednesday is day 399 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, BBC, The Guardian, Sky NewsAP