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12 Jun, 2023 10:41

Ukraine demands more tanks from Germany

The call comes after Russian forces destroyed several armored vehicles during an attempted counteroffensive by Kiev's forces
Ukraine demands more tanks from Germany

Ukraine needs significantly more German armor amid intense fighting with Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Melnik claimed in an interview published on Sunday. The request came after Moscow claimed it had destroyed several German-made Leopard tanks while repelling repeated attempts by Kiev to breach Russian lines.

Speaking to Tagesspiegel, Melnik, who was previously Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, said his country requires much stronger support from the West than it is currently receiving.

Melnik was dismissed from his post in Berlin after a series of controversial remarks, including his defense of Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. He also often made headlines with insulting comments targeting German politicians, and once labeled Chancellor Olaf Scholz an “offended liverwurst” for his unwillingness to visit Kiev.

“The Ukrainian Army most urgently needs many more Western battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and other armor,” he said, adding that “every Leopard 2 is literally worth its weight in gold for the decisive offensive.”

He suggested that the German military could spare many more than the 18 Leopard 2 vehicles it has reportedly delivered to Ukraine, noting that Berlin has more than 300 such in its arsenal. The number of Leopards provided could be “tripled without endangering Germany’s ability to defend itself,” the deputy foreign minister claimed.

In addition to tanks, Berlin could also give Kiev “another 60 Marder infantry fighting vehicles (IFV),” according to Melnik. In total, Germany has sent 40 IFVs of this type to Ukraine, while promising to supply another 20 in the near future.

The request was welcomed by several German politicians, including MPs Roderich Kiesewetter and Marcus Faber, who suggested that these deliveries could help Ukraine to cover their losses.

Melnik’s comments come after Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed on Friday that Kiev had kicked off its much-hyped counteroffensive, which so far has resulted only in Ukrainian troops sustaining heavy losses. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky appeared to downplay the subject, saying only that “counteroffensive and defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine,” declining to elaborate further.

As fighting continues to rage between Moscow and Kiev, last week Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had destroyed a total of seven German Leopard tanks in several separate clashes, along with some other heavy armor and infantry fighting vehicles.