Germany is under intense pressure when 50 nations meet at Ramstein Air Base today. At the moment, the tank that Ukraine wants is not available.
Ukraine made an urgent appeal to Western countries to supply modern tanks. On Friday, they can get an answer as to whether their wish will be granted.
Then about 50 countries participate in a large meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Norway is represented by Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gramm. All NATO countries are present.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin, who will preside over the meeting, made some statements to the press at the beginning of the meeting.
– At the beginning of the meeting, Austin said: – We begin the new year with renewed support for the courageous defensive struggle of Ukraine.
He recalled February last year, when Russia invaded the neighboring country.
– Putin believed that Ukraine would collapse, and the world would look the other way. But he did not take into account the courage of the Ukrainian people, the skills of the Ukrainian defense, he did not take into account you who are here, he continued.
Austin said at the same time that it’s important to keep the momentum going.
– This is a decisive moment for Ukraine, a decisive decade for the world. So there is no doubt that we will support Ukraine’s defensive struggle as long as necessary.
He noted that the United States is now contributing a new package worth 25 billion Norwegian krone, including armored personnel carriers, air defense systems, and tens of thousands of missiles and artillery shells.
It noted contributions from a number of countries.
Zelensky: – We’re having a bad time
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky greeted from Kyiv at the beginning of the meeting.
Thanks for the support.
– We see the result on the battlefield in Ukraine. Thank you very much! He said we are fighting a common enemy.
Zelensky said at the same time that they are all going through bad times. Request more weapons.
Terrorism does not await us. He said that’s why we don’t have enough time.
On Twitter, he thanked US President Joe Biden for the $2.5 billion arms package:
The Kremlin with a warning
A Kremlin spokesperson made a statement at the same time.
The message is that it will not change the direction of the conflict if the West donates tanks to Ukraine. On the contrary, it will only make things worse for the Ukrainian people.
However, the Kremlin is urging Western countries to avoid escalating the conflict. And they stress that Russia’s concerns must be heard if we want to avoid any escalation.
They want German tanks
Britain has already said it will send tanks. The United States, Germany and France promised to send armored personnel carriers.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said earlier this week that he expects an increase in heavy weapons deliveries.
If Ukraine gets tanks, it could take the war to a new stage. Then they will be able to recapture occupied lands, such as the Karim Peninsula.
There is great tension over whether Germany will agree to send German-made Leopard tanks. Zelenskyj came up with a strong desire for just that.
– You are adults. You might argue for another six months, but people are dying in our country. Quite simply: can you supply a Leopard tank or not? Give them to us in this case, he said in an interview with the German ARD.
Poland said it was willing to send Leopard, but was counting on Germany agreeing to do so. Germany, for its part, said it would only agree to it if the United States sent its Abrams tanks.
Finland said Friday morning that it would give 4.3 billion Norwegian crowns in military support to Ukraine. This is twice what they have provided so far in support. Leopard tanks are not part of the Finnish package.
It has not yet been reported whether Norway will do something similar.
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