Destruction in Kharkiv (late January 2023)
Photo: IMAGO/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy / IMAGO/Ukrinform
That says Kyiv
The Ukrainian government assumes that the expected Russian offensive will affect the Kharkiv regions in the northeast and Zaporizhia in the south.
Russia will try to have flagship results around the first anniversary of the war on February 24.
This is what the head of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, told Reuters.
"They must have something to show their people, and they have a great desire to do something they see big by that date."
Danilov is skeptical about assumptions by other Ukrainian officials that Moscow could also be planning an attack from the territory of its ally Belarus on north-western Ukraine.
It is "doubtful that they will come from that direction" because "there are clearly not enough troops there".
Danilov also said Ukraine has the right to attack targets inside Russia.
“Let's say there's a certain point in Russia where we know for sure that a device is launching missiles at our children.
Do we have to watch this point calmly and close our eyes - or destroy it if we have the capacity?'
This is war."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has interpreted German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius' visit to Kyiv as "a signal of support for Ukraine".
"Ukraine is very interested in the support of one of the leaders of the European Union - Germany - especially in this difficult time for us," Zelenskyy was quoted as saying in a statement from his presidential office on Tuesday evening.
"We are grateful for the recent decisions, for all decisions," he emphasized.
Zelensky did not comment directly on the delivery of more than 100 Leopard 1 main battle tanks announced by Pistorius.
But he spoke about Germany's recent decision to supply modern German-made main battle tanks: "The recent decisions about the tank coalition and the initiative of our European friends in cooperation with our Ministry of Defense cannot give us any advantages, but they can give us parity on the battlefield .« But this depends on delivery times, quantities and the modernity of the equipment, he explained.
Arms deliveries to Ukraine
Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck hopes that Germany's pledged further supply of tanks will help Ukraine fend off an expected new wave of Russian attacks.
"There are large numbers that are made available there in order to then ward off the Russian spring offensive," said the Vice Chancellor on Tuesday in the US capital Washington.
The Federal Ministry of Economics had previously approved the export of up to 178 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks to Ukraine.
"How many Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks will actually be delivered to Ukraine depends on the necessary repair work," it said.
The federal government had already given its general approval for the export last week.
Since the tanks still have to be made ready for use, the exact timetable is not foreseeable, said Habeck.
"But of course it should go as quickly as possible." If you ask yourself afterwards whether such decisions could not have been made earlier, "then you have a point, of course," said the Green politician.
On the other hand, the question is probably pointless because the political and military situation always plays a role.
"I hope it was hit just in time and will provide the Ukrainian army with the level of technical support that is sorely needed now in the spring."
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke with his US colleague Antony Blinken about further military aid for Ukraine and new sanctions against Russia.
In addition, the phone call was about preparations for important events, as the first anniversary of the war is approaching on February 24, Kuleba said in a tweet.
The US government has already approved the sale of 18 Himars missile systems including ammunition to Poland worth ten billion dollars (9.3 billion euros).
This will expand Poland's military capabilities and "at the same time increase interoperability with the United States and other allies," the US Department of Defense said on Tuesday.
Poland will use the rocket launchers to "bolster the homeland's defenses and ward off regional threats."
Poland is a US NATO ally and shares a border with Ukraine.
Himar rocket launchers played a key role in Ukraine's fight against the Russian invasion and were used in attacks on supply posts and Russian positions.
According to the US government, Germany is a "powerful ally" and "a reliable friend and partner" in supporting Ukraine, which is being attacked by Russia.
Berlin's commitment "is greatly appreciated and should also be noted," the communications director of the US government's National Security Council, John Kirby, told DW in Washington.
For Berlin, the decision to supply battle tanks was not easy - also because of German history.
"I think everyone respects that and understands it."
At the end of January, after much back and forth and parallel to the German commitment to supply Leopard tanks to Kyiv, the US government also announced that it would supply Ukraine with M1 Abrams main battle tanks.
In the interview, Kirby rejected reports that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had pressured US President Joe Biden to deliver the Abrams tanks.
"I would disagree with the assertion that the Chancellor's statements put pressure on the President," Kirby said when asked.
It was a "coordinated announcement" and Washington moved in step with Berlin.