Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday criticized Germany’s reluctance to allow heavy tank deliveries, saying it was not the “right strategy”.
“There are times when one should not hesitate or compare oneself. If someone says, “I will deliver tanks if someone else does,” said Mr. Zelensky, speaking via video conference during a breakfast on the sidelines of the Davos Forum.
The Ukrainian President referred to press reports that Berlin would only deliver heavy tanks if the US delivered Abrams tanks.
However, Washington is not ready to provide Ukraine with these main battle tanks, a senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday, citing maintenance and training issues as the reason for the refusal, but without ruling out a change in the American position on the matter.
“I don’t think this is the right strategy,” the Ukrainian president lamented, targeting Berlin, which is coming under increasing pressure from several European neighbors to allow deliveries of Leopards, very powerful main battle tanks.
Every shipment of German war material must indeed get the green light from Berlin. The heads of state and government of Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Great Britain again called for a quick decision on Tuesday.
“Our goal is to liberate all our territories,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday during his online address at the House of Ukraine in Davos, including Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014.
“Crimea is our land, territory, sea and mountains. Give us your weapons and we’ll get our land back,” he told his western partners.
This intervention by Mr Zelensky, the second in Davos, comes the day after a helicopter crash near Kyiv that claimed the lives of Ukraine’s Interior Minister and 13 others.
When asked about the hypothesis of an accident, Mr Zelensky replied that “several theories are being investigated and I am not authorized to speak about the various hypotheses pending the outcome of the investigations”.