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Selenskyj wants to continue fighting for German Leopard tanks

Selenskyj wants to continue fighting for German Leopard tanks

By Der SPIEGEL AUSLAND - 23 January 2032

The Ukraine conference in Ramstein failed to make a decision on the Leopard 2 tank. For Ukrainian President Selenskyj, there is no alternative to the delivery of the main battle tank. That was the news on January 20, 2023.

Essentials in brief

  • After the Ukraine conference in Ramstein, Germany, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to continue fighting in Kyiv for the delivery of German Leopard 2 tanks to his country.
  • The United States has announced that it will classify the Russian Wagner mercenary group as a "transnational criminal organization."
  • Kyiv has expressed optimism about new arms shipments. Although an agreement on the supply of Leopard 2 tanks has not yet been reached in Ramstein.

Strack-Zimmermann criticizes the lack of a decision

10:57 p.m.: The chair of the Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FPD), has sharply criticized the postponed German decision on the supply of main battle tanks to Ukraine. "At least a signal would have been right to give the partners the green light," she said in ZDF 's "todays-journal" with a view to the desire of countries like Poland to send their own Leopard 2 tanks made in Germany to Ukraine to deliver. However, they need a permit from Berlin for this .more on the subject

"Unfortunately, Germany just failed"

Germany "unfortunately just failed," complained Strack-Zimmermann. The communication, especially from Chancellor Olaf Scholz ( SPD ) on this issue was a "disaster". On the one hand, Germany supports Ukraine massively, but the lack of a decision on battle tanks creates a different impression. Scholz remains guilty of explanations. In their view, the new Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) is “on the chain”. However, she is certain that the Leopard-2 will ultimately be delivered to Ukraine.

10:25 p.m .: At the weapons summit, the new defense minister is being pressured to finally send German Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Boris Pistorius announces an examination, Chancellor Scholz is more under pressure than ever. You can read more about this here.

Selenskyj wants to continue fighting for German Leopard tanks

9:13 p.m .: After the Ukraine conference in Ramstein, Germany, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv wants to continue fighting for the delivery of German Leopard 2 tanks to his country. During the talks, he heard a lot of understanding for the needs of Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia, Zelensky said in his video message every evening. "Yes, we will still have to fight for the supply of modern tanks, but every day we make it more obvious that there is no alternative to choosing tanks," he said. more on the subject

At the conference at the US Air Force Base, no decision was made on the delivery of main battle tanks. Nevertheless, Zelenskyj was optimistic that he will receive the tanks. Missiles with longer ranges are also needed to liberate Ukrainian areas, he said. According to Zelensky, not everything that was discussed in Ramstein was intended for the public. The bottom line, however, is a strengthening of Ukrainian resistance to Russian aggression. "The partners stand firm in their stance of supporting Ukraine for as long as is necessary for our victory."

8:37 p.m.: Tanzanian student Nemes Tarimo was arrested in Moscow, probably because of a drug offense. To get free, he joined the Wagner mercenary group – and died, as his family now reports. You can read more about this here.

USA classifies Wagner's mercenary group as a “transnational criminal organization ”.

7:31 p.m.: The US classifies the Russian mercenary group Wagner as a “transnational criminal organization”. This was announced by White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. The measure enables additional sanctions against the mercenary group, which was active in the Ukraine war, among other things. The group commits "atrocities and human rights abuses," said John Kirby.

The group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a longtime confidante of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, has around 50,000 fighters in Ukraine, according to Kirby. Of these, 40,000 were recruited from prisons. Wagner also received missiles from North Korea in the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. According to this, Kirby showed recordings intended to show the transport of armaments from North Korea to Russia by train.

Mercenaries from the Wagner paramilitary group have been deployed in many conflict regions, including Syria and African countries, for years. Prigozhin only publicly admitted in September that he had founded the group, which had been operating secretly for a long time. In October, it opened an official headquarters in St. Petersburg.

Listening recommendation - The Wagner Group and its importance for Putin

6:55 p.m.: The Wagner mercenary group confidently emphasizes their successes in Ukraine. Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin even dares to harshly criticize Russia's military leadership. How big is his influence really? You can listen to that in the SPIEGEL podcast "Eight Billion".

The USA does not expect a quick victory for Ukraine

6.40 p.m .: US Chief of Staff Mark Milley still considers the chance of an early military victory for Ukraine in the war against Russia to be low. From a military point of view, it would be "very, very difficult" for Ukraine to drive Russian forces out of every inch of Ukraine and Russian-held territory this year, Milley said after a Ukraine conference at Ramstein Air Force Base. "That doesn't mean it can't happen," he insisted. He believes that this war, like many before it, will end at the negotiating table.

The front line is very long and mostly static, Milley said. It is initially more likely that the focus will continue to be on defense in order to stabilize the front. And depending on how quickly the arms deliveries from international partners and the training of the Ukrainian military in new weapon systems progress, a significant counter-offensive by Ukraine is also possible in order to liberate as much Ukrainian territory as possible.

Milley said there were "significant casualties on both sides". He calculates that Russia has lost "well over 100,000" soldiers. That includes regular members of the military, but also mercenaries who fought on the Russian side. Milley emphasized that there were also significant losses in the Ukrainian military, without giving any figures. Added to this are the many innocent civilians in Ukraine who have been killed.

Great Britain wants to help Ukraine with criminal prosecution

6:19 p.m.: Britain has reiterated its support for Ukraine's bid to recognize Russia's "criminal responsibility" for the "illegal invasion." British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said London had accepted an invitation from Kyiv to join "a core group of like-minded partners". The group seeks legal accountability and will "shape deliberations on how to ensure criminal accountability for Russia's aggression against Ukraine."

According to this, a new type of special tribunal could be integrated into the Ukrainian judicial system and include foreign elements, such as international prosecutors and judges, but also foreign funding. The idea of ​​such a special court first came up at the end of last year and received the support of Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) on Monday. In a speech in The Hague, Netherlands, Baerbock called for such a "new format" in order to "investigate the Russian leadership and bring them to justice."

A special tribunal could act against Russia for the "crime of aggression," unlike the International Criminal Court (ICC). Since Russia does not recognize the ICC, the Court can only investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

Kyiv: "We will get everything we haven't got yet"

5:46 p.m .: In a first reaction to the announcement that the western allies in Ramstein had not agreed on the delivery of the Leopard 2 tank, the head of the Ukrainian presidential staff, Andriy Yermak, was optimistic. "We're getting stronger," he wrote in a short Telegram post. "And we'll get everything we haven't got."

US Secretary of Defense: Germany is a reliable ally

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Ramstein

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Ramstein Photo: RONALD WITTEK / EPA

5:31 p.m .: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has also announced that there is no agreement on the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks. Even if Germany has not yet approved the delivery of its tanks, Germany is a reliable ally and will continue to play a leading role.

The aim is to provide Ukraine with the capacities it needs to be successful in the near future. The package of military aid to Ukraine is "very, very effective," Austin said at a press conference in Ramstein. Read more here.

Poland: No Leopard agreement in Ramstein

4:53 p.m.: According to Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, no decision was made in Ramstein about the supply of Leopard 2 tanks. However, he is optimistic that an agreement will soon be reached. "I am convinced that forming a coalition will lead to success." The Polish government had announced that it would send Leopard tanks to Ukraine, but only as part of an international coalition.

Stoltenberg: New military aid will enable Ukraine to launch offensives

4:02 p.m .: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has welcomed the announcement of new arms deliveries to Ukraine. He also made it clear in Ramstein that he expected further developments in the debate about the possible delivery of German Leopard 2 tanks.

The fact that hundreds of new armored vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, and battle tanks are now being made available to Ukraine will make a huge difference for the country, Stoltenberg told journalists. The support will not only enable Ukrainians to defend themselves against new Russian offensives but also enable them to launch their own offensives to retake territory.

On the question of whether Germany is harming European unity because it has not yet delivered any Leopard 2 tanks, Stoltenberg said: "The consultations will continue." Since the beginning of the war, the type of support has been constantly evolving

The Norwegian also emphasized that Germany was one of the allies that supported Ukraine the most. "Artillery, ammunition, air defense systems and now Marder-type armored personnel carriers: Germany is really a leader in supporting Ukraine in many, many areas," he said.

3:18 p.m .: Taking a stand against the war in Russia is risky. Nevertheless, some people dare to commemorate the Ukrainian victims of the rocket hit in Dnipro. Here you can read observations on a memorial in Moscow. Recommended external content this point you will find external content from Twitter that complements the article and is recommended by the editors. You can show it and hide it again with one click. External content.

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Patriot systems will be moved to Poland on Monday

3:02 p.m.: The Bundeswehr begins moving the first two of the three promised Patriot anti-aircraft missile squadrons from Germany to Poland on Monday. The aim of the Bundeswehr is to help protect Polish airspace and strengthen NATO's eastern flank. The laying begins in Gnoien (district of Rostock ).

The anti-aircraft systems are to be deployed in the vicinity of the city of Zamość in south-eastern Poland. From there it is around 60 kilometers to the Ukrainian border and 110 kilometers to the Ukrainian city of Lviv (Lemberg). According to SPIEGEL information, the Bundeswehr systems are intended to protect an important transshipment station for Ukraine aid. more on the subject

The strengths and weaknesses of the Patriot system

Bundeswehr soldiers have been on site in Poland since January 16 to ensure that the components of the weapon system are installed together with the Polish alliance partners.

Selenskyj calls on Germany and its allies to deliver tanks again

2:37 p.m.: The President of Ukraine shared his speech to the defense ministers in Ramstein on Twitter.

Urgent measures are necessary, Zelenskyj said in the speech, because "Russia is concentrating its forces, the last of its forces, and is trying to convince everyone that hatred can be stronger than the world". It is necessary to "accelerate" arms supplies because the war with Russia is a struggle between freedom and autocracy. Recommended external content this point you will find external content from Twitter that complements the article and is recommended by the editors. You can show it and hide it again with one click. External content

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Pistorius has stocks of Leopard tanks checked for possible delivery

2:04 p.m .: At a press conference, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius announced that Germany would check its stocks of Leopard tanks for possible delivery to Ukraine. However, it is unclear whether these would also be delivered. "There are good reasons for the delivery, there are good reasons against it," said the SPD politician on the sidelines of the Ukraine contact group's deliberations at the US base in Ramstein. Pistorius on Leopard deliveries: “We are preparing for the worst-case scenario”0 seconds of 4 minutes, 0 volume 90%

There is "no uniform opinion" among the partners, said Pistorius. The impression that Germany is blocking such a decision is wrong. He can therefore not yet say what the decision should look like. However, he had given his ministry an inspection order to check the stock of Leopard 2 tanks in the Bundeswehr and in industry. He wants to be ready to act if a decision is made.

The decision about delivery will be "made as soon as possible" in coordination with the partners. In addition, Germany will supply Ukraine with additional weapons and equipment worth one billion euros. With this “spring package”, the total volume of German military aid since the beginning of the war has risen to 3.3 billion euros.

Andriy Melynk: Germany should end »Panzer-Kasperltheater«

2:01 p.m.: The former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, has called on the federal government to give up resistance to Leopard deliveries to Ukraine. "We are calling on the new Minister of Defense, Boris Pistorius, to end this tank puppet theater in Ramstein today and to start delivering German Leopards immediately," Melnyk told the Süddeutsche Zeitung on the sidelines of the Ramstein meeting.

Germany should no longer hide behind the Americans' backs. "It's still not too late to demonstrate true leadership to unreservedly strengthen Ukraine with all available weapons from the Bundeswehr and the German defense industry," he said. Melnyk is now his country's deputy foreign minister.

Federal Intelligence Service warns of high losses in the Ukrainian army

1:46 p.m.: The Federal Intelligence Service ( BND ) is alarmed because of the high losses suffered by the Ukrainian army in the battle for the strategically important city of Bakhmut in the east of the country. According to information from SPIEGEL, the foreign intelligence service informed security politicians in the Bundestag in a secret meeting this week that the Ukrainian army is currently losing a three-digit number of soldiers every day in battles with the Russian invaders.

The BND warned that taking Bakhmut by the Russians would have serious consequences, as it would allow Russia to make further advances inland. The BND also reported that the Russian army was acting with merciless severity at Bakhmut. The briefing said that Russia was currently throwing soldiers forward like cannon fodder and that high losses in its own armed forces apparently played no role in the Russian war tactics.

Russian military reports taking place near Bakhmut

1:25 p.m.: The Russian Ministry of Defense confirms the capture of the village of Klishchiyivka on the southern outskirts of the small town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, which is considered strategically important . This was achieved with the help of the Luftwaffe. Earlier, units of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic had declared that Klishchiyivka was under Russian control. The place where around 400 people lived before the war is around nine kilometers south of Bahamut.

Last week Russia reported the capture of the small town of Soledad northeast of Bakhmut. This should allow the Russian armed forces to increase the pressure on Bakhmut. There, Ukrainian soldiers and, above all, Russian mercenaries from the Wagner troops have been fighting attrition for months. More on the subject..

Satellite images show the ruins of Soledar and Bakhmut

With the capture of Klishchiivka, the danger of the Ukrainian garrison in Bakhmut becoming encircled increased. The city is a major transport hub and is considered part of Ukraine's defensive wall between Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, the last major agglomeration controlling Kyiv in the eastern Donbas region. The Kremlin has named the conquest of the Donbas as one of its war goals.