Waiting for the delivery of Leopard 2 type tanks, like the one seen here, Germany and other countries have promised a hundred Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine.
Three European countries announced Tuesday the dispatch “in the coming months” of a hundred heavy tanks to kyiv, to help its army to repel the Russian forces. For its part, Moscow considers it to be carrying out a “successful” offensive in eastern Ukraine.
The announcement comes as new German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius is on a surprise visit to kyiv, and as Ukrainian leaders urge their Western allies to speed up the #x27;sending heavy tanks promised to them.
At least 100 Leopard 1 A5 tanks will be delivered in the coming months, the defense ministers of Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark said in a joint statement.
These Leopard 1s, older than the 14 Leopard 2 type vehicles promised by Berlin, come from stock and will be refurbished.
In the evening, President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked these three countries for their relevant support, following a meeting with Mr. Pistorius. This is the German minister's first trip to Ukraine since his appointment in mid-January.
On Twitter, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiï Reznikov ironically told him that the "first" Leopard 2 has arrived in kyiv, posting a photo showing it and Mr. Pistorius holding a scale model of the German tank.
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BREAKING: The “first” Leopard 2 has arrived in Kyiv 🐆
There will be more of them.✊
Thank you to @Bundeskanzler my colleague Boris Pistorius and the German people.
The tank coalition is marching… to victory! pic.twitter.com/4VY2YaovBi
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) February 7, 2023
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However, the timing of Western deliveries remains unclear, at a time when kyiv is worried about not receiving the tanks in time to repel a possible new large-scale Russian attack.
On Tuesday, Russia even claimed success in its recent offensive in eastern Ukraine.
Since January, his army, supported by paramilitaries from the Wagner group and reinforced by hundreds of thousands of mobilized civilians, has gone back on the offensive, particularly in the Donbass , eastern region which Moscow claims to be annexed.
Currently, the fighting is progressing successfully in the areas of Bakhmout and Vougledar, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, according to a statement issued after a meeting with military officials. army and its ministry.
He cited the recent conquests of seven localities including Soledar, a small town near Bakhmout that the Ukrainian forces ceded in January after deadly fighting for both sides.
Shoigu further warned the West against increasing its military aid to Ukraine.
“Such measures draw NATO countries into the conflict and can lead to an unpredictable level of escalation.
—Sergei Shoigu, Russian Defense Minister
Observers agree in predicting that Russia is preparing a major offensive in late winter or early spring, with the minimum objective of conquering all of Donbass, which it controls only partially.
We are keeping maximum attention on what the occupants are preparing, Volodymyr Zelensky underlined on Tuesday evening, recalling that the Donetsk region – and the east in general – is the point currently the hottest of hostilities.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. (File photo)
Near Bakhmout, Ukrainian artillery continued to shell Russian positions on Tuesday, according to AFP reporters who could hear frequent detonations.
Farther from the front, Yaroslav, captain of a unit operating a Grad multiple rocket launcher, prepares to order the firing of a salvo of around 40 projectiles when the attack is finally over. canceled.
If we are not needed, it is because the situation is more or less stable on the front, wants to believe the 35-year-old soldier , face whipped by an icy wind.
The fall of Bakhmout, the scene for several months of very deadly fighting, would open the way to a Russian offensive towards Kramatorsk, the main city of Donbass under control Ukrainian.
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I mention the south [of the country] less often, but it still has a strategic significance, Volodymyr Zelensky noted on Tuesday, while the Russians are also on the offensive on Vougledar, some 150 km further south, close to a railway junction serving occupied eastern and southern Ukraine.
In northern Donbass, the Russians are also pressing their adversary, in an area reconquered by kyiv in September.
Sergiy Solomon, a 31-year-old Ukrainian construction worker turned soldier, confirms that kyiv's forces may be outgunned by those in Moscow.
The Russians have tanks, [vehicles] armored personnel carriers, [rockets] Grad, everything you can imagine, he says. We have equipment, but not much ammunition.
Faced with repeated requests from kyiv and after procrastinating for a long time for fear of causing an escalation, Americans and Europeans have recently decided to send dozens of heavy tanks so that Ukraine could better oppose a Russian offensive and organize its own.
However, their number remains below kyiv's expectations. And Westerners continue to refuse to deliver combat aircraft.
The United States, on the other hand, promised weapons with a range of up to 150 km, which kyiv demanded in order to be able to strike the depots far behind the front ammunition and Russian supply lines.