Ukraine Latest: Germany, NATO See Decision On Tanks Coming Soon
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Chancellor Olaf Scholz is talking to allies about sending Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine and a decision to ship them could come in the next few days.
(Bloomberg) -- German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Chancellor Olaf Scholz is talking to allies about supplying Ukraine with Leopard battle tanks and could give the green light to ship them in the next few days.
Poland said it formally asked the government in Berlin for the necessary approval to send its German-built Leopards, while NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he’s confident there’ll be a solution soon to provide Ukraine with the boost in firepower it needs to repel an expected new Russian offensive and recapture lost territory.
“I am preparing for a possible decision to send the Leopard tanks and to allow other European and NATO partners to do the same,” Pistorius said in a television interview, pushing back against the suggestion that Germany is dragging its feet.
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On the Ground
Russian troops launched nine missile strikes at settlements in the Kharkiv, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions over the past day, and conducted 27 air attacks and 79 assaults with multiple-launch rocket systems, Ukraine’s General Staff said on Facebook. According to its morning statement, Russian forces are continuing an offensive on the Bakhmut and Avdiyivka axes north of Donetsk, while all attacks in the direction of Kupyansk were repelled.
(All times CET)
Ukraine Launches Leopards Social Media Campaign (12 p.m.)
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has launched a social media campaign dubbed “#FreeTheLeopards” to try to convince allies to supply Leopard battle tanks and other heavy weapons.
People who choose to support the initiative can post pictures of themselves wearing leopard-print clothing. The campaign, which started Sunday on Ukraine’s official Instagram page, has already garnered more than 5 million views, according to the ministry.
Stoltenberg Confident of Swift Tanks Solution (10 a.m.)
Stoltenberg said Ukraine urgently needs battle tanks both to repel any new Russian offensives but also to equip it to retake territory captured by the invader.
“Russia is preparing for new offensives and we need to enable the Ukrainians fast,” Stoltenberg said in Berlin. “I am confident that there will be a solution soon and I welcome also the clear message from the minister that other NATO allies that have Leopard battle tanks are free to identify those that may be available for Ukraine to make them ready but also to start training the Ukrainian crews.”
Zelenskiy Aide Speaks With Sullivan (8:30 a.m.)
Andriy Yermak, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, said he discussed the protection of Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and energy security with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
They also talked about increasing pressure on Russia via sanctions and the current situation on the front line, Yermak wrote on Telegram.
Russian Church Officials Sanctioned (8 a.m.)
Zelenskiy signed a decree imposing sanctions on 22 Russian orthodox priests and preachers. The decree, published on his website, blocks assets, restricts travel, prevents withdrawal of capital and halts cultural ties, scientific cooperation, and educational and sports contacts.
“Sanctions have been imposed against 22 Russian citizens who, under the guise of spirituality, support terror and genocidal policy,” Zelenskiy said in his evening address.
Zelenskiy Announces Government Shakeup (3:50 a.m.)
Zelenskiy said he’s preparing a personnel shakeup in the government in Kyiv, law enforcement agencies and regional authorities. He made the announcement in a Facebook post but didn’t name specific officials or posts.
He also restricted travel by government employees outside the country. “Officials will no longer be able to travel abroad for vacation or for any other non-governmental purpose,” he said. The announcement came after Vasyl Lozynskyy, the nation’s deputy minister of communities, development and infrastructure, was detained in a corruption investigation.
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