In its bid to solidify its stance in the war, Ukraine has pushed for German-made modern battle tanks and secured a pledge of more Patriot defence missiles as its allies seem ready to support Ukraine in the next phase of the war.Ukraine has been primarily using the Soviet-era T-72 tank variants. However, Germany’s Leopard 2 tank is considered one of the best in the West and is operated by armies in about 20 countries. The tank weighs more than 60 tonne and is equipped with a 120 mm smoothbore gun that can hit targets at a distance of up to five km.
The modern tanks would offer Ukraine the mobile firepower to face Russian troops in decisive battles. Even as Germany remains the West’s biggest holdout on pledging tanks, a Cabinet minister said on Tuesday that the issue would be the first to be decided by new defence minister Boris Pistorius, reported news agency Reuters.
Pistorius will be hosting US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday in presence of dozens of defence ministers at Ramstein air base in Germany. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands told US President Joe Biden about its plan to offer the US-made Patriot missile defence system to Ukraine amid the increasing missile assaults from Russia.
Last month, Washington announced additional military aid for Ukraine, including the transfer of a Patriot system, considered one of the most advanced US air defence systems that offer protection against aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles.
Ukraine has been getting a steady supply of weapons from the West since Russia invaded the cuntry last year in what it termed as “special military operation” to protect its security amid the growing proximity of its neighbour with the West.
“The allies must intensify their military support to Ukraine to help them break a hardening of the front lines and avoid a prolonged battle of attrition,” Britain’s foreign minister, James Cleverly, said on a visit to Washington on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the civilian death toll from a missile that targeted an apartment block in the central city of Dnipro on Saturday rose to 45. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy shared the update in his Tuesday night video address.