The new defense minister, Boris Pistorius, on the sidelines of the meeting in Ramstein: “Availability to be verified”
Germany delays sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine. The new defense minister, Boris Pistorius, said he would check the availability and possibly the number of tanks, in response to Kiev’s request. On the sidelines of the meeting of defense ministers of the allied countries in Ramstein, Pistorius admitted that Germany has not yet made a final decision. “We are preparing in case” a decision on sending tanks is made quickly, he added.
The German defense minister then added that he does not believe in the possibility of a retaliation by Vladimir Putin in the case of a delivery of Lepopard tanks to Kiev: “I don’t think so. But we have a responsibility towards Germany and Europe, for this We have to weigh the decision carefully,” he told Ramstein. And to those who ask him if he “will abandon Ukraine” he replies: “I just stated very clearly that we will support Ukraine until the end of the war”.
According to several observers, the go-ahead will only be triggered if the United States sends its Abrams tanks. But a spokesman for the Berlin government, Steffen Hebestreit, has denied this hypothesis. “At no time – underlined the spokesman – there was a binding or a request that one of the two things must happen for the other to happen”. Hebestreit noted that he “finds it difficult to imagine a German chancellor dictating conditions or making demands on an American president”. In any case, he said, coordinated action with the United States on this matter was important for the German government.
Meanwhile, according to a spokesman for the Berlin government quoted by Sky News, lPoland could send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine even without Germany’s permission. Yesterday the Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki spoke of ”secondary importance authorization” compared to the need to send the Leopard 2s to Ukraine.
For his part, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, via video link reiterated that there is little time, and “we must act quickly”. The conflict is about “the kind of world we want to live in”, added Zelensky for which “the Kremlin must lose”.
”We will continue to defend the principle that borders cannot be redrawn by force. And we will continue to defend an open world of rules, rights and responsibilities”, assured the US defense secretary Lloyd Austin turning to Zelensky. ”Once again, thanks for being here today,” he added.
RUSSIA – Sending more tanks to Ukraine “will not fundamentally change anything,” said the spokesman for Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov. The West “will regret believing the illusion” that Ukraine can win on the battlefield. “We have repeatedly said that such supplies will not fundamentally change anything, but rather will add problems to Ukraine and the Ukrainians,” Peskov said that sending more weapons “will cause a spiral” of violence.
007 GERMANY – Germany’s external intelligence agency (BND) is alarmed by the losses the Ukrainian army is suffering in Bakhmut, a city in Donbass. This was reported by Der Spiegel, explaining that it has learned that Ukrainian forces suffer triple-digit losses every day in clashes with the Russians. According to the BND, Bakhmut is strategic and his fall would have consequences as it would allow the Russians to advance further. Meanwhile, the pro-Russian forces of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk have claimed control of Klishchiivka, a small settlement south of Bakhmut.