Ukrainian War: Volodymyr Zelenskyy ‘grateful’ for Leopard 2 tanks but warns quantity and delivery time ‘critical’ | world news

Ukraine’s president told Sky News he was ‘very happy’ and ‘grateful’ that Germany had decided to supply 14 Leopard 2 tanks – but warned the quantity and delivery time of the vehicles were ‘critical’ .

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Kay Burley on his 45th birthday, Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked his allies around the world for their support since Russia invaded his country.

“I would like to thank Germany, Britain and the United States for making this decision,” he told Sky News.

Russia sends warning to US over tanks

Picture:
Mr Zelenskyy hears Germany promising tanks during his interview with Kay Burley

He continued: “Overall, I am very grateful to the world for the support given to Ukraine. But frankly, the number of tanks and the delivery time to Ukraine are critical.

Zelenskyy learned that Germany had ended weeks of indecision and decided to send the Leopards to Ukraine during the interview with Sky News.

Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, said Berlin would send the Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv and allowed its allies to re-export theirs – despite threats from Russia.

After the announcement, the Kremlin said: “These tanks will burn like all the others.”

Which countries are sending tanks to Ukraine?

  • The United States will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks
  • Germany will send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks
  • The United Kingdom has announced that it will send 14 Challenger 2 tanks
  • Poland has pledged to send 14 Leopard tanks

Germany’s move means other countries, such as Poland and Spain, with stockpiles of NATO-standard tanks can now send them to Kyiv.

The Russian Embassy in Berlin condemned the decision as an “extremely dangerous decision” and an “escalation” of the conflict.

Mr Scholz said Germany was “acting in close coordination” with its allies.

The goal is to provide Ukraine with two battalions – 88 tanks – along with other allies.

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The Germans will deliver “battle tanks to Ukraine”

Read more:
Germany to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine
What are Leopard 2 battle tanks?

Biden to deliver speech on Ukraine crisis

The long-awaited decision comes after US officials said a preliminary agreement had been reached for the United States to send M1 Abrams tanks to help Kyiv push back Russian forces and reclaim Russian-occupied territory.

Joe Biden, the US President, is due to deliver a speech this afternoon on continued US support for Ukraine.

The White House did not say what he would say, but it will follow Germany’s announcement and the days of political stalemate – and open the door for more nations to send tanks to Ukraine.

US Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said discussions were “ongoing” about Ukraine’s needs, but did not confirm whether the United States would send the tanks.

Kremlin: the tanks will burn

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described German and American intentions as “a rather disastrous plan”.

“I am convinced that many specialists understand the absurdity of this idea,” he said on Wednesday.

“Just because of the technological aspects, it’s a pretty disastrous plan.

“The bottom line is that this is a quite obvious overstatement of the potential [the tanks] would add to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This is yet another mistake, quite profound.

“These tanks will burn like all the others… Except that they are very expensive and it will fall on the shoulders of European taxpayers.”

Watch Mr. Zelenskyy’s full interview on Kay Burley at 7am tomorrow

malek

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