Home » Russia-Ukraine War: No Decision On Supplying German-Made Tanks To Kyiv; ‘very Difficult’ To Remove Putin’s Forces This Year, US Says – Live

Russia-Ukraine War: No Decision On Supplying German-Made Tanks To Kyiv; ‘very Difficult’ To Remove Putin’s Forces This Year, US Says – Live

Austin: No decision made on supplying German-made tanks to Ukraine

The US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, says Germany has yet to make a decision on the provision of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, citing his German counterpart.

Asked whether the issue of supplying heavy tanks to Ukraine was discussed at today’s meeting at Ramstein airbase, Austin said:

You may have heard the German minister of defence say earlier that they’ve not made a decision on the provision of Leopard tanks.

What we’re really focused on is making sure that Ukraine has the capability that it needs to be successful right now. So we have a window of opportunity here between now and the spring or whenever they commence their offensive.

US defence secretary: no decision on sending German-made tanks to Ukraine – video

It’s 9pm in Kyiv. Here’s where things stand:

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  • Germany declined to take a decision on whether to give Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine at a special international summit held at the Ramstein US air force base in Germany. It had been hoped in Europe and the US that Germany would at least allow Leopards owned by countries such as Poland and Finland to be re-exported, but despite days of pleading, Berlin’s newly appointed defence minister said no final decision had been taken.

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  • Berlin’s reluctance to act over sending German-made tanks to Ukraine prompted frustration in Kyiv and a warning from Poland that lives could be lost. Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland’s defence minister, said he was still “convinced that coalition-building will end in success”. But Poland’s foreign affairs minister, Zbigniew Rau, said Ukrainian blood is the “price of hesitation” over the delivery of tanks to Ukraine.

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  • The US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, said the group of Kyiv-supporting defence ministers were focused on “making sure that Ukraine has the capability that it needs to be successful right now”. Speaking after the Ramstein airbase meeting, Austin described Germany as a “reliable ally” and said the package of military aid being sent to Ukraine was “very, very capable”.

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  • Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, pleaded with Germany and western allies to send their battle tanks to Kyiv at the opening of the meeting in Ramstein. Urgent action was necessary, the Ukrainian leader said, because “Russia is concentrating its forces, last forces, trying to convince everyone that hatred can be stronger than the world”.

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  • The Kremlin said supplying additional tanks to Kyiv would not “fundamentally change anything” and warned that the west would “regret” its “delusion” that Ukraine could win on the battlefield. Russia’s relationship with the US is at its “lowest point historically”, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also said, with “no hope” of bilateral relations improving “in the foreseeable future”.

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  • A group of nine Nato countries, including Britain and Poland, pledged a raft of new military aid to support Ukraine’s war with Russia on Thursday. Gathering at a military base in Estonia, defence officials from those countries pledged missiles, stinger air defence systems, anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, training, and other equipment and services. Britain, which has already announced plans to send tanks to Ukraine, will also send 600 Brimstone missiles, defence secretary Ben Wallace said.

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  • It will “very, very difficult” for Ukraine to “military eject” Russian forces from every inch of occupied territory this year, the US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen Mark Milley, said. Meanwhile, senior US officials have reportedly urged Ukraine to hold off on launching a major offensive against Russian forces until the latest supply of US weaponry is in place and training is provided.

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  • EU countries are reportedly working on a 10th round of Russia-related sanctions. The next package of sanctions “will be somewhere around” the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, one senior diplomat told Reuters. EU officials are also seeking approval from the ministers for a seventh tranche of military aid for Ukraine worth €500m.

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  • The US will impose additional sanctions against the Russian private military company, the Wagner Group, the White House national security council spokesperson, John Kirby, has said. The US treasury department plans to designate Wagner as a significant Transnational Criminal Organisation, which would freeze any assets the group has in the US and prohibit Americans from providing funds, goods, or services to the group.

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  • Russian proxy forces in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in the Donbas region said they had taken control of Klishchiivka, a small settlement south of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. Germany’s foreign intelligence service (BND) is reportedly alarmed by the losses the Ukrainian army is suffering in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

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  • A UN humanitarian convoy has reached an area close to the town of Soledar in east Ukraine. A UN spokesperson said the three-truck convoy had set off early on Friday from Dnipro carrying food, water, hygiene kits and medical supplies for 800 people, to Soledar where some of the fiercest fighting in the country has taken place in recent weeks.

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  • The UK has offered qualified support for the creation of a special tribunal capable of holding the Russian civilian and military leadership, including Vladimir Putin, to account for war crimes in Ukraine.

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  • Italian authorities are on the hunt for a Russian oligarch after two of his luxury yachts that were seized under EU sanctions mysteriously disappeared from a port in Sardinia. The yachts, belonging to Dmitry Mazepin, the billionaire owner of a mineral fertiliser company, went missing from the Sardinian port of Olbia within weeks of each other last summer.

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EU countries are working on a 10th round of Russia-related sanctions that could be ready around the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, according to diplomatic sources.

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The next package of sanctions “will be somewhere around” that date, one senior diplomat told Reuters. Another said “there was ambition” to have the package ready by then.

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The sources did not discuss who or what might fall under the latest sanctions package. No decisions are expected when EU foreign ministers meet on Monday, but some could use the opportunity to push the discussion.

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EU officials are also seeking approval from the ministers for a seventh tranche of military aid for Ukraine worth €500m.

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Senior US officials have urged Ukraine to hold off on launching a major offensive against Russian forces until the latest supply of US weaponry is in place and training is provided, Reuters is citing a senior official as saying.

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The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US was holding fast to its decision not to provide Abrams tanks to Ukraine at this time.

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Washington has declined so far to provide M1 Abrams tanks to Kyiv, citing extensive and complex maintenance and logistical challenges.

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The US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen Mark Milley, says it will “very, very difficult” for Ukraine to “military eject” Russian forces from every inch of occupied territory this year.

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He adds:

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That doesn’t mean it can’t happen, doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it would be very, very difficult.

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What could happen is a “continued defence stabilising the front”, he says, which would depend on the delivery and training of military equipment the west is sending to Ukraine.

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Milley says it’s possible for Ukraine to run a “significant” tactical offensive operation to liberate as much Ukrainian territory as possible.

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The US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, says Germany has yet to make a decision on the provision of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, citing his German counterpart.

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Asked whether the issue of supplying heavy tanks to Ukraine was discussed at today’s meeting at Ramstein airbase, Austin said:

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You may have heard the German minister of defence say earlier that they’ve not made a decision on the provision of Leopard tanks.

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What we’re really focused on is making sure that Ukraine has the capability that it needs to be successful right now. So we have a window of opportunity here between now and the spring or whenever they commence their offensive.

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