Germany will not “stand in the way” of Poland sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine; Russia claims more progress in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region
Germany will not “stand in the way” of Poland sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine, foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said, in what appeared to be the clearest signal yet from Berlin that European allies could deliver the German-made hardware. Asked in an interview with French television station LCI what would happen if Poland sent its Leopard 2 tanks without German approval, Baerbock replied through a translator: “For the moment the question has not been asked, but if we were asked we would not stand in the way.”
German chancellor Olaf Scholz promised that Germany will “continue to support Ukraine – for as long and as comprehensively as necessary”, adding: “Together, as Europeans – in defence of our European peace project.” Germany’s new defence minister, Boris Pistorius, plans to visit Ukraine soon, he told a German newspaper.
Scholz said future decisions on weapons deliveries will be made in coordination with allies, including the United States. Under pressure to allow the shipment of German-made tanks to Ukraine, the chancellor said that all weapons deliveries to Ukraine so far have taken place in close coordination with western partners.
Poland announced it is ready to deliver 14 Leopard tanks to Kyiv but is waiting for “a clear statement” from Berlin, in comments made before German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock’s interview. Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, criticised Germany’s failure to supply tanks to Ukraine. “Germany’s attitude is unacceptable. It has been almost a year since the war began. Innocent people are dying every day,” he said.
Former UK prime minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Ukraine, where he said that it was “the moment to double down and to give the Ukrainians all the tools they need to finish the job”. Downing Street said Rishi Sunak is “supportive” of Boris Johnson’s visit, despite warnings that it would undermine the current prime minister’s authority.
French president Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday he does not rule out the possibility of sending Leclerc tanks to Ukraine. “As for the Leclercs, I have asked the defence ministry to work on it. Nothing is excluded,” he said while speaking at a summit with German chancellor Scholz.
Russia claimed to have made advances in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region. After months of stalemate in the south-eastern region, Moscow-installed officials say the front is now “mobile” while the Ukrainian army reported that 15 settlements had come under artillery fire. “During offensive operations in the direction of Zaporizhzhia, units of the eastern military district took up more advantageous ground and positions,” the defence ministry said on Sunday.
Zelenskiy has vowed Ukraine will not tolerate corruption and promised forthcoming key decisions on uprooting it this week. “I want this to be clear: there will be no return to what used to be in the past, to the way various people close to state institutions or those who spent their entire lives chasing a chair used to live,” he said in his nightly video address. The EU has made anti-corruption reforms one of its key requirements for Ukraine’s membership to the bloc, after granting Kyiv candidate status last year.
Norway’s army chief has estimated 180,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in over the course of the conflict, while the figure for the Ukrainians is 100,000 military casualties and 30,000 dead civilians. Norwegian chief of defence Eirik Kristoffersen gave the figures in an interview with TV2, without specifying how the numbers were calculated. The figures cannot be independently verified.