Ukraine is getting closer to receiving modern western main battle tanks, more patriots – Portal

Ukraine is getting closer to receiving modern western main battle tanks, more patriots – Portal

  • Tank decision made by new German defense minister
  • Allies must step up military support to Ukraine – UK minister
  • Dutch send Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine

Kyiv, Jan 18 (Portal) – Ukraine has come one step closer to receiving approval for German-made modern main battle tanks to confront invading Russian forces and has secured a pledge for more Patriot anti-missile missiles as its allies say they are ready seem to be rallying for the next phase of the war.

Germany’s Leopard 2 tank, used by armies in about 20 countries, is considered one of the best in the West. The tank weighs more than 60 tons, has a 120mm smoothbore gun and can hit targets up to five kilometers away.

Ukraine, which has mostly relied on Soviet-era T-72 tank variants, says the new tanks would give its ground forces more mobility and protection from a widely anticipated new Russian offensive, and help retake some of their territory.

Germany has been the West’s biggest holdout on pledging tanks, but a cabinet minister said on Tuesday the issue would be the first to be decided by incoming Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

He will receive US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday before dozens of defense ministers meet at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany on Friday.

Western countries have been steadily arming Ukraine since Russia invaded last February 24 in what it calls a “special military operation” to protect its security as its neighbor moves ever closer to the West. Ukraine and its allies accuse Moscow of an unprovoked war to gain territory.

Allies must step up military support to Ukraine to help it break through a hardening frontline, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said during a visit to Washington.

“What we see when you have this kind of brutal, attritional conflict is this tremendous loss of life. And none of us can want to see that – that’s why we think now is the right time to step up our support for Ukraine,” Clever said.

Also in Washington, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte briefed US President Joe Biden on the Netherlands’ plans to offer the US-made Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine.

This is in addition to pledges by the United States and Germany to send Patriot missile systems to Ukraine.

Training Ukrainian officers to operate the Patriot advanced long-range air defense system will take 10 weeks, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said.

Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska on Tuesday urged delegates to the World Economic Forum to do more to end the war, adding that she will deliver a letter from her husband to the Chinese delegation outlining Ukraine’s proposed peace formula will.

China is a key partner of Moscow and has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday.

EAST FRONT LINE

In the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the civilian death toll from a rocket that hit an apartment block on Saturday rose to 45, including six children, including an 11-month-old boy, Zelenskyy said in his late-night video address. Ukrainian authorities called off the search for survivors on Tuesday.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said Wednesday the two sides had been shelling each other on the eastern front, where neither had made much headway in recent months.

In the past 24 hours, Russian forces have been shelling the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, where nearly 30 settlements have been shelled, including the towns of Soledar and Bakhmut and the village of Klishchiivka, the military report said.

Ukrainian forces repelled attacks in Bakhmut and the village of Klishchiivka south of it in Donetsk, she added.

Russia claims it has captured the small mining town of Soledar near Bakhmut, a focus of recent fighting, but Kyiv says its forces are still fighting there.

“The situation is complicated. Fighting continues on the streets of Soledar and Ukrainian forces are fighting hard. Part of the city is occupied,” Petro Kuzyk, commander of the Ukrainian National Guard’s Freedom Battalion, was quoted as saying by the Espreso TV news website.

Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said in a YouTube video that eyewitnesses noticed Russian soldiers at the train station in the town of Sil, north of Soledar.

The number of Wagner fighters, who played an important role in the recent forays into Donbass, is much smaller as Russian soldiers and conscripts are now leading the attacks, he added.

Portal was unable to verify battlefield reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to visit Saint Petersburg on Wednesday, marking the 80th anniversary of the day Soviet forces managed to open a narrow land corridor to the city – then known as Leningrad – and breach a Nazi blockade that had been in place since September 1941 lasted.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a domestic news outlet that rumors that Putin would announce changes to the war effort, such as general mobilization, were untrue.

Reporting by Portal bureaus; writing by Grant McCool and Himani Sarkar; Edited by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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