Volodymyr Zelensky had been asking Ukraine’s Western allies for heavy tanks for several months. Wednesday, January 25, the calls of the Ukrainian president seem to have been heard. After weeks of hesitation, the United States and Germany announced the delivery of heavy tanks to Ukraine, reflecting further increased Western support for kyiv in the perspective of a possible counter-offensive to the Russian invasion . Here’s what to remember from the day.
Announcements of heavy tank deliveries to kyiv
After an exchange by telephone in the morning between the American, French, German, British and Italian heads of state, several announcements concerning the delivery of heavy machinery have been formalized.
Germany first announced the delivery to Ukraine of 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks from Bundeswehr stocks. At the same time, Berlin has authorized countries that wish to do so to supply kyiv with the armored vehicles they have – so far, only the United Kingdom has already announced the delivery to Ukraine of 14 heavy tanks, Challenger 2 -. Norway and Poland, which were waiting for this green light from Berlin, immediately renewed their intention to send armored vehicles to kyiv. Spain also said “willing” to send Leopard 2 heavy tanks to Ukraine and train Ukrainian soldiers in their use, through Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles.
Finally, US President Joe Biden said that the United States will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Announcements of Western heavy tank deliveries to Kyiv are “an important step for the final victory”greeted the Ukrainian president. “Today the free world is united as never before with a common goal: the liberation of Ukraine”added Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelensky asks for long-range missiles and combat aircraft
“We also need to allow the delivery of long-range missiles to Ukraine, this is important. We also need to expand our cooperation in artillery and [rendre possible] the sending of fighter planes”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky added in his daily address published on social networks, given after the announcement of upcoming tank deliveries from Western allies. “The key now is speed and volume. The speed of training our troops, the speed of tank deliveries…and the volume of support,” he hammered.
The caution of Berlin and Washington
The delivery of tanks to Ukraine is not a “offensive threat against Russia”, said US President Joe Biden after the announcement of the green light from Washington and Berlin to send these vehicles to kyiv, to fight the invasion of Moscow. These deliveries and military aid are part of “of the commitment of countries around the world, led by the United States, to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity (…). This is not an offensive threat against Russia”he said in a brief speech.
“We are doing what is necessary and possible to support Ukraine, but at the same time we are preventing an escalation of the war, towards a war between Russia and NATO”, for his part declared the German Chancellor, Olaf Scolz, during an intervention before the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, earlier in the day. He also recalled that there was no question for NATO to intervene in the air and on the ground in Ukraine.
These statements were not enough to appease the anger of the Russian camps. “It is an extremely dangerous decision that will bring the conflict to a new level of confrontation”had warned the Russian ambassador in Berlin Sergei Netchaev. “This convinces us once again that Germany, like its closest allies, does not want a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis and wants a permanent escalation.”he said again. “If the United States decides to deliver tanks, it will be impossible to justify such an act by arguments related to ‘defensive weapons’. This would be a new blatant provocation against the Russian Federation” , had warned his counterpart in Washington, Anatoly Antonov.
Russia ‘steps up’ fighting in the East
“The fighting is intensifying.” In a message posted on the Telegram application, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar gave an update on the situation on the front, in the Donetsk region, in the east of the country. Russia is “in numerical superiority“, she said, citing the ongoing fighting in the area around Bakhmout, which Moscow troops have been trying to conquer for several months, but also that around Vougledar, a locality southwest of Donetsk.
This is the first time that this city, of about 15,000 inhabitants before the war, is explicitly mentioned among the combat zones. “intense”. “Against their numerical and armed superiority, our advantage on our side lies in the professionalism of the military command and the courage of the soldiers.”she added.
The Ukrainian army admits having ceded the town of Soledar to Russian troops
“After months of hard fighting”, the Ukrainian armed forces left this city in eastern Ukraine to “to fall back to prepared positions”, the military spokesman for the eastern zone told AFP. Serguiï Tcherevaty however refuses to specify when this retreat took place.
The Russian paramilitary group Wagner announced that it had taken Soledar on January 11, followed by the Russian army on January 13. This small town in the Donetsk region of 11,000 inhabitants before the war, known for its salt mines, is located near Bakhmout, another hot spot in eastern Ukraine.
The Russian paramilitary group Wagner announced that it had taken Soledar on January 11, followed by the Russian army on January 13. This small town in the Donetsk region of 11,000 inhabitants before the war, known for its salt mines, is located near of Bakhmout, another hot spot in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainians had so far refused to recognize the loss of the city.