Zelensky urges speedy delivery of western tanks
President Zelenksy has thanked Western leaders for sending their tanks to support Ukraine but said they needed to be delivered quickly.
He also urged the West to send long-range missiles and fighter jet.
Germany and the US announced they would send their tanks to Ukraine yesterday in a historic move. Russia condemned the move, calling it a “blatant provocation” and said any tanks supplied to Ukraine will be destroyed.
The tanks would “burn like all the rest,” said Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman. “They are just very expensive.”
Zelensky said he told Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that “progress must be made in other aspects of our defence co-operation” – with Ukraine seeking supplies of long-range missiles and artillery.
He pressed for a speedy delivery as well as significant numbers: “We must form such a tank force, such a freedom force that after it strikes, tyranny will never again rise up.”
It’s understood Zelensky will now want to focus on equipping the Ukrainian air force with better fighter jets now the tanks have been secured.
But German Chancellor Olaf Scholz insisted there would be “no fighter jet deliveries to Ukraine.”
Germany first announced it would send tanks, and the US followed a few hours later. Berlin’s announcement has cleared the way for other European countries to donate German-made tanks from their own stock.
The UK has already pledged tanks to Ukraine.
‘Helping Ukraine defend’
Joe Biden said Mr Putin had expected Europe and the United States to “weaken our resolve”, adding: “He was wrong from the beginning and he continues to be wrong.”
“We’re also giving Ukraine the parts and equipment necessary to effectively sustain these tanks in battle,” he said.
“This is about helping Ukraine defend and protect Ukrainian land. It is not an offensive threat to Russia.”