Ukraine: Berlin announces the supply of armored vehicles

Berlin will allow the delivery of Cheetah tanks to Kyiv, a government source said on Tuesday, shortly before a meeting in Germany of about forty countries aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s defense. The announcement, which is due to be made by Germany’s defense minister during a meeting at the US-based Ramstein base during the day, is a major turning point in Berlin’s cautious policy of military support for Kyiv. These armored vehicles, which specialize in air defense, will come from the German defense industry. Their number is not specified at this stage. As Russia seeks full control of southern Ukraine and the Donbas region, the Ramstein meeting in West Germany aims to “create additional opportunities for Ukrainian forces,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Monday. “They can win if they have the right equipment, the right support,” Lloyd Austin said after returning from a visit to Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, accompanied by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

“The United States, which provides Ukraine with basic international military assistance, wants to provide them with the support, artillery and ammunition that will be effective at this stage of the battle,” the Pentagon chief told a news conference in Poland near the Ukrainian border. Kyiv mostly requires heavy artillery and armor to try to repel Russian troops on the country’s vast southern and eastern plains, but Russian-made equipment used by Ukrainian forces is in short supply. Some Eastern European countries that still have it are sending it to Kyiv, sometimes in exchange for next-generation American weapons, as seen by journalists accompanying Mr. Austin to Poland.

– Diapers and guns –

Thus, the head of the Pentagon and Anthony Blinken spoke to the press on Monday from the warehouse, where tons of humanitarian and military aid were accumulated, ready to be loaded on trucks for transportation to Ukraine. Not far from the pallets of medical equipment and diapers in front of which they were removed were hundreds of Russian-made shells and missiles donated by countries that generally want to be restrained in their involvement in the Ukrainian war. Outside, seven howitzer-towed vehicles with a range of 30 km were waiting to be handed over in front of hundreds of carefully aligned pallets of shells and various ammunition. But this was not enough, and the United States, which at the beginning of the Russian invasion limited its supplies of “defensive” weapons, began to send to Kiev heavy American-made weapons, such as howitzers and armored vehicles. “We are talking to colleagues from other countries about obtaining the same weapons, and we are receiving early signs that many countries will volunteer,” the Pentagon chief said. France has already announced that it is sending Caesar guns with a range of 40 kilometers, and Britain has handed over anti-aircraft missiles and Starstreak armored vehicles.

– Close and distant allies –

The meeting also aims to ensure Ukraine’s long-term security after the war. “It’s mostly about modernizing and ensuring that their army is still strong and able to function in the future. It’s not about security, it’s about their real military position,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Friday. This meeting will not take place within NATO, even if it is attended by the Secretary General of the Atlantic Alliance Jens Stoltenberg. Among the 40 countries invited are European allies of the United States, as well as more distant countries such as Australia and Japan, who fear that Russia’s victory in Ukraine will set a precedent and push China’s territorial ambitions. The guest list also included Finland and Sweden, traditionally neutral countries that were considering joining NATO after Russian troops invaded Ukraine.

(from AFP)

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