Day 330: Ukraine waiting on Germany to approve re-export of tanks, tribunal for Russia’s war

Ukraine’s expectations from Germany ahead of Ramstein meeting Friday

A number of European nations are ready to supply tanks to Ukraine. They have been waiting for the country that produced them to approve the re-export of its tanks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said in a joint news conference with European Council President Charles Michel in Kyiv. 

“Many countries have expressed their readiness to provide Ukraine with tanks, but they are waiting for permission from the manufacturing country. Poland is ready, and Finland, Portugal, Spain and many other countries are willing to provide even a small number of tanks they have in service. They were ready to do so earlier. We all are waiting for the approval of the country which has the rights on the particular license,” President Zelenskyi said.

The country concerned is Germany. It has yet to give permission to re-export its Leopard tanks.

“The supply of tanks continues to be pressing. It depends on a lot of reasons and unfortunately does not depend on Ukraine’s wish. We put as much political pressure, as we can, but most importantly our pressure is based on the solid arguments. The courage and motivation of our warriors is not enough against thousands of tanks of the Russian Federation. We need the right weapons,” Zelenskyi said.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki earlier said that Poland could go alone and send Leopard tanks to Ukraine even without Germany’s consent, if it takes too long to get permission.

Germany’s approval is required to send German-made Leopard tanks outside NATO territory.

Ahead of a Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting Friday, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov issued a joint statement, calling on the western allies to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities.

The ministers called for a new level of quality in military support for Ukraine as Russia retains a substantial quantitative advantage in troops, weapons and military equipment, and its troops continue offensive in eastern Ukraine. “Today, the improvement of the provision of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with modern armoured vehicles and increasing their fire and manoeuvrability capabilities with the help of Western tanks is one of the most pressing and urgent needs,” the statement reads.

Minister Kuleba and Minister Reznikov welcomed UK’s decision to send a first squadron of Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. Yet, it is not sufficient to achieve operational goals, they said. “Therefore, we are addressing our appeal to the states that have Leopard 2 tanks in service, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey. We guarantee that we will use these weapons responsibly and exclusively for the purposes of protecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine within internationally recognized borders,” the ministers said in a statement.

They also called on other nations to join the international tank coalition in support of Ukraine.

“Tallinn Pledge”: nine European states pledge unprecedented military aid to Ukraine

The defense ministers of Estonia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania; and the representatives of Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Slovakia signed onto a statement, pledging to deliver more arms to Ukraine in its war with Russia. 

The joint statement condemns Russia’s attacks designed to terrorize Ukraine’s people, including intentional attacks against the civilian population and civilian infrastructure which may constitute war crimes.

“The new level of required combat power is only achieved by combinations of main battle tank squadrons, beneath air and missile defence, operating alongside divisional artillery groups, and further deep precision fires enabling targeting of Russian logistics and command nodes in occupied territory,” the document reads.

The signing nations urge other Allies and partners to “follow suit and contribute their own planned packages of support as soon as possible to ensure a Ukrainian battlefield victory in 2023”.

European Parliament backs special tribunal for Russia’s war in Ukraine

The European Parliament on Thursday passed a resolution that backs the creation of an international tribunal to hold to account those responsible for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

The resolution passed by a vote of 472 to 19 with 33 abstentions.

The resolution calls for the EU institutions and member states to work in close cooperation with Ukraine and the international community to “push for the creation of a special international tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression against Ukraine perpetrated by the political and military leadership of the Russian Federation and its allies”. The tribunal would base on an international agreement with support from the UN General Assembly, the European Parliament said.

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