Germany will not stand in the way if Poland sends its German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Analena Berbock said Sunday in an interview with French TV station LCI.
Asked what would happen if Poland went ahead and sent its Leopard 2 tanks without Germany’s approval, Baerbock said: “At the moment the question has not been asked, but if we are asked, we will not interfere.”
“We know how important these tanks are and that is why we are now discussing this with our partners,” the German foreign minister added. “We must make sure that people’s lives are saved and the territory of Ukraine is liberated.
Earlier on Sunday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reaffirmed that Berlin and Paris will support Ukraine in its fight against Russian occupation and will not allow Europe to return to “hatred and national rivalry”.
“We will continue to provide Ukraine with all the support it needs for as long as it takes. Together, as Europeans, to defend our European peace project,” he said, while on a visit to Paris to celebrate 60 years of the iconic Franco-German Elysee Treaty.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Sunday that he expected a decision soon on the delivery of the tanks to Ukraine.
Pistorius told German public broadcaster ARD that Berlin would not make a hasty decision as there were many factors to consider, including the implications at home for the security of the German population.
Germany was under considerable pressure to both supply Leopard 2 main battle tanks in Ukraine and allow other countries to send their German tanks to Ukrainian forces. But Berlin hesitated to send highly advanced Leopard 2 tanks in Ukraine out of concern that it could lead to an expansion of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Poland has repeatedly criticized Berlin for its wavering stance.
“Germany’s attitude is unacceptable. It’s been almost a year since the war started. Innocent people are dying every day,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the national Polish news agency PAP. “Russian bombs wreak havoc in Ukrainian cities. Civilian targets attacked, women and children killed.”
Here’s more news on the war in Ukraine on Sunday, January 22:
Norway estimates over 300,000 victims
Norway’s defense chief, Erik Kristoffersen, said around 180,000 Russian and 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed or wounded in the war in Ukraine.
“Russian losses are starting to approach around 180,000 soldiers killed or wounded,” he said in an interview with TV2, without specifying how the numbers were calculated.
“Ukrainian losses are probably over 100,000 killed or wounded. In addition, Ukraine has around 30,000 civilians killed in this terrible war,” Kristoffersen said.
It is the highest estimate since General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in November that the Russian military had suffered more than 100,000 killed or wounded, with a “likely” similar toll from the Ukrainian country.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine have released their death tolls for months, and neither figure can be independently verified.
Kristoffersen warned, however, that “Russia is capable of continuing (this war) for quite a long time,” citing Moscow’s capacity for mobilization and weapons production.
Macron does not rule out the supply of French heavy tanks to Ukraine
French President Emmanuel Macron said his country is still studying the decision to supply Ukraine with France-made Leclerc heavy tanks.
Speaking at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday, Macron said he had asked the Defense Ministry to work on it, stressing that “nothing is ruled out”.
However, the French president stressed that sending any equipment to Ukraine to repel Russian forces must be a “collective” decision and coordinated with allies, including Germany.
Macron also said the deployment of heavy tanks in Ukraine should not weaken France’s defense capabilities or escalate the conflict.
Recently, Germany has been under enormous pressure to supply battle tanks to Ukraine. Berlin hesitated whether to send the highly advanced, German Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine or allow other countries to transfer them.
On Sunday, Scholz reiterated Berlin’s position on the issue, stressing that his country has always acted in close coordination with its allies.
Germany’s new defense minister plans to visit Ukraine
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said he was “certain” he would travel to Ukraine soon. “Probably even in the next four weeks,” he said photo on sunday newspaper.
Pistorius, who took office on Thursday after his predecessor Christine Lambrecht resignedsaid his ministry was studying how best to be prepared for any possible solutions on the matter.
“We are in very close dialogue with our international partners, primarily the US, on this matter.
Putin’s ally warns against supplying Ukraine with offensive weapons
Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, warned that the West, by supplying offensive weapons to Ukraine, would lead the world to a “terrible war”.
“If Washington and NATO countries provide weapons that will be used to strike civilian cities and attempt to seize our territories, as they threaten, this will lead to retaliatory measures with the use of more powerful weapons,” Volodin said in the Telegram messaging app.
“Supplies of offensive weapons to the Kyiv regime will lead to a global catastrophe,” he said.
The head of the State Duma said that Moscow is considering attacks on the Ukrainian territories of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye and Kherson, which Russia annexed and occupied as an attack on its territory.
The war caused a “new revival” of unity, Zelensky says
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was confident of victory as he marked Ukrainian Unity Day. On January 22, Ukrainians celebrate the 1919 Unification between the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the West Ukrainian People’s Republic.
This is what Zelensky said in an emotional video Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to a “new revival of our Ukrainian unity” as millions of Ukrainians stood together to defend the country.
“Each region protects the other,” he said. “And we all defend Kyiv together. And we all protect together Kharkiv. And all together we liberate Kherson”.
British intelligence: Russia struggles to expand military
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its regular intelligence briefing that Russia is likely struggling to find the materials and personnel it needs after Moscow announced plans to expand its armed forces.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently announced measures to expand the military, including increasing the number of troops from 1.15 million to 1.5 million.
“Shoigu’s plans signal that the Russian leadership very likely appreciates that the heightened conventional military threat will continue for many years beyond the current war in Ukraine,” the British report said.
“However, Russia will very likely struggle to staff and equip the planned expansion.”
The British ministry has published daily intelligence reports on the war since Russia launched the war in Ukraine last year. Russia has accused the UK of a disinformation campaign.
More DW reporting on the war in Ukraine
A new investigation by a German newspaper says Bulgaria’s former government quietly supplied Ukraine with weapons soon after Russia invaded last year. DW examines the news about the secret arms deliveries and what they mean for Bulgaria.
Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s power grid have forced many cities to cut power to conserve energy. Residents of Kyiv talk about the serious consequences for people on the street.
fb/dj (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)
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