‘No alternative’ to sending heavy tanks to Ukraine: Zelensky

Publish: 9:16 PM, January 21, 2023 | Update: 9:16:PM, January 21, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday there was “no alternative” but for the West to give Ukraine heavy tanks, as Germany failed to say whether or not it would provide its much sought-after Leopards.

Zelensky welcomed the progress made in recent days, with arms deliveries promised by the United States and a string of European nations.

“The partners are principled in their attitude — they will support Ukraine as much as is necessary for our victory,” said Zelensky in his evening address.

“Yes, we will still have to fight for the supply of modern tanks, but every day we make it more obvious that there is no alternative, that a decision about tanks must be made.”

After thanking those countries that had already promised to deliver weapons, he added: “The only thing worth emphasizing in all this is the time, the delivery time.

“Each arrangement must be carried out as quickly as possible — for our defence.”

Earlier Friday, Zelensky renewed his appeals to western leaders as they gathered for a key meeting at the US Ramstein airbase in Germany, making it clear he expected “strong decisions”.

Poland and Finland have indicated they would be willing to send Germany-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine, but need German approval for the move.

Pressure has been growing on Berlin to approve their delivery, but newly appointed Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said Friday: “We still cannot say when a decision will be taken, and what the decision will be, when it comes to the Leopard tank.”