After months of debate, Germany decided yesterday to deliver coveted Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Other countries are also given permission to do this.
In addition, the United States also supplies heavy combat vehicles, at least 31 Abrams tanks are heading for Kiev. Mart de Kruif, former commander of the land forces, called the heavily armored and very modern battle tanks a ‘crucial weapon’ against RTL News yesterday.
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky thanked US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for the promised tanks in a speech.
But he also immediately added that it is not enough and fast delivery is necessary. He needs as many tanks as possible as quickly as possible to fight against the Russians.
‘A dream and a task’
A little later, Zelenski asked on the phone with NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg whether he could also get fighter jets from Western countries. Scholz was very clear about that: that is certainly not going to happen. Zelensky is hopeful of planes from his allies, saying it is “a dream and a task.”
An important adviser to Zelensky called the delivery of the tanks yesterday “only a start”, writes the British newspaper The Guardian.
These are the tanks that are supposed to help Ukraine in the war against Russia:
The world’s largest arms manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, meanwhile tells the British business newspaper Financial Times that it is ready to increase the production of F-16s.
No country has yet promised these fighter jets to Ukraine and America has not given permission for them to be delivered. But according to Lockheed Martin, “there is a lot of talk right now about third-party transfers of F-16s,” which would mean exporting the fighters to Ukraine.
Lockheed Martin is not a party when it comes to the political discussion whether Ukraine will receive fighter jets, but the manufacturer is already increasing production capacity in South Carolina, where the weapons are made.
Hoekstra: ‘Open mind’
Dutch minister Wopke Hoekstra said last week that he would look ‘with an open mind’ at a request to supply F-16s to Ukraine.