Germany is singled out this Saturday for its position in the context of the war in Ukraine.
It has decided, for the time being, not to deliver heavy tanks.
In a rare public criticism, the foreign ministers of the Baltic countries (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia) urged this Saturday morning Berlin, the German capital, "to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine now", pleading "the responsibility peculiarity" of Germany, "first European power".
We, 🇱🇻 🇪🇪 🇱🇹 Foreign Ministers, call on Germany to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine now.
This is needed to stop Russian aggression, help Ukraine and restore peace in Europe quickly.
Germany as the leading European power has special responsibility in this regard.
— Edgars Rinkēvičs (@edgarsrinkevics) January 21, 2023
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky regretted Germany's cautious position on Friday evening, saying he was convinced that "there is no other solution" for its Western allies than to deliver tanks to its army.
Direct criticism of Berlin also came from a Republican US senator, Lindsey Graham, after a visit to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Friday.
“I'm sick of
around who is going to send tanks and when,” he lambasted on Twitter.
“To the Germans: send tanks to Ukraine because they need them (…) To the Biden administration: send American tanks so that others follow our example”.
I am tired of the s*** show surrounding who is going to send tanks and when are they going to send them.
Putin is trying to rewrite the map of Europe by force of arms.
World order is at stake.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 20, 2023
In Ramstein, Germany, the fifty or so countries represented did not agree on Friday on sending heavy tanks to kyiv, despite repeated requests from Ukraine.
Quoted by the media The Voice of America, the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Oleksiï Reznikov, however indicated that Ukrainian soldiers will soon train on Leopards in Poland: "We will start with that, and we will see for the following.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, for his part, temporized, stressing that there is always “a window of opportunity between now and spring” to deliver Western tanks.
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According to Russia, the sending of such devices would not change anything on the ground, the spokesman for the presidency, Dmitri Peskov, accusing the West of in fact maintaining the “illusion” of a possible Ukrainian victory.
But, for many experts however, modern heavy tanks would be a real advantage for kyiv in the battles in eastern Ukraine, where Russia is taking the offensive again after suffering heavy setbacks in the fall.
Acceleration of fighting in the Zaporizhia region
In kyiv, Volodymyr Zelensky and Olena Zelenska, as well as many Ukrainian leaders paid a last tribute this Saturday morning to the Minister of the Interior, Denys Monastyrsky, who died on Wednesday in a helicopter crash with 13 other people.
The president and his wife were dressed in black and brought flowers.
Inside the building where the ceremony took place, located very close to Maidan Square in the heart of kyiv, seven coffins were brought, carried by men dressed in military uniform.
The blue and yellow Ukrainian flag was displayed on each, and the black and white portraits of the victims next to it.
In the audience, family members of the victims stood side by side, some in tears.
Outside, the Ukrainian and European flags were at half mast.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, the Russian occupation authorities reported on Friday a "sharp increase in the intensity" of clashes in the Zaporizhia region, "across the entire front line".
"This had never happened before," said a leader of the regional occupation authority.
In its morning bulletin on Saturday, the Ukrainian army said it had come under "fire" the day before in a dozen villages in the region.
The line of contact between the Ukrainian and Russian armies in this southern region has largely not moved for several months and no major combat has taken place there, unlike the regions of Kherson (south), until in November, and Donetsk (east), the current epicenter of the clashes.