Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that he expects a serious decision on aid to Ukraine from NATO countries, writes Reuters.
On Friday, the 20th of January, the leaders of NATO countries will meet at the Ramstein air force base and discuss the supply of weapons to Ukraine. Special attention will be paid to the transfer of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is hesitant to make a decision because he worries that the supply of tanks will provoke Russia. Some of the allies believe that the concerns are unfounded. Western countries have also delivered weapons so far.
Zelensky said in a speech on the 19th of January:
«We are, in fact, now waiting for a decision from one European capital, which will activate the prepared chains of cooperation regarding tanks.»
The US announced on he 19th of January that the value of the new aid shipment will be 2,5 billion dollars, and it includes several hundred armored vehicles, as well as anti-aircraft defense equipment. In total, since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the amount of US aid has reached 27,4 billion dollars.
An anonymous source in the German government previously said that Germany will move Leopard tanks to Ukraine if the US sends its Abrams tanks there. The new German Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, said he has no information of such a demand.
Ukraine’s western allies have so far tried to avoid sending the most powerful weapons to Ukraine to prevent a direct confrontation with Russia. Zelensky has stated that Ukraine needs tanks for defense and to regain its territory, and it is not going to attack Russia. The adviser to the president, Mykhailo Podolyak, wrote on Twitter: «From Washington to London, from Paris to Warsaw, you hear one thing: Ukraine needs tanks. Tanks are the key to ending the war properly.
It is time to stop trembling before Putin and take the final step.»
Meanwhile, the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, William Burns, secretly visited Ukraine to meet with Zelensky and to inform the Ukrainian president of his observations regarding Russia’s military plans.
Ukrainian armed forces report that intense hostilities are still ongoing in Donbass.