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War in Ukraine, Day 332 | Kyiv deplores Western indecision on heavy tank deliveries

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(Kyiv) Ukraine on Saturday deplored the “indecision” of the West on the delivery of heavy tanks, while some of its European allies directly pointed the finger at Germany, after its refusal to supply its Leopard tanks to Kyiv, when the Russians are on the offensive.

“The indecision of these days kills even more of our fellow citizens”, criticized on Twitter Mykhaïlo Podoliak, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, calling on the allies of Kyiv, who met the day before in Ramstein (Germany), to “think faster” .

“You will help Ukraine with the necessary weapons anyway and realize that there is no other option to end the war,” he pleaded, echoing similar remarks the day before. of President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In a rare public criticism, the three Foreign Ministers of the Baltic countries for their part urged Berlin on Saturday morning “to supply Leopard tanks to Ukraine as of now”, pleading “the particular responsibility” of Germany, “the first European power.

Direct criticism of Berlin also came from a Republican US senator, Lindsey Graham, following a visit to Kyiv on Friday.


PHOTO NACHO DOCE, REUTERS

Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham (left) traveled to Kyiv with fellow Democrats Richard Blumenthal (right) and Sheldon Whitehouse (not pictured) on Friday.

“I’m sick of the ‘shitty show’ around who’s going to send tanks and when,” he blasted on Twitter. “To the Germans: send tanks to Ukraine because they need them. […] To the Biden administration: Send American tanks for others to follow our lead.”

In Ramstein, the fifty or so countries represented did not agree on Friday on sending heavy tanks to Kyiv, despite repeated requests from Ukraine.

Quoted by The Voice of Americathe Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Oleksiï Reznikov, however indicated that Ukrainian soldiers would soon train on Leopards in Poland: “We will start with that, and we will see for the future”, he declared .

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, for his part, temporized, stressing that there was still “a window of opportunity between now and spring” to deliver Western tanks.

According to Russia, sending such devices would not change anything on the ground, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov accusing the West of wanting to maintain the “illusion” of a possible Ukrainian victory.

“Offensive Operations”

On Saturday, the Russian army also claimed to have carried out “offensive operations” in the region of Zaporijjia (south).

“As a result of offensive operations, units of the Eastern Military District took more advantageous lines and positions,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, without giving further details.

The day before, the Russian occupation authorities had reported a “sharp increase in the intensity” of the clashes in this region, “along the entire front line”.

In its morning bulletin on Saturday, the Ukrainian army only indicated that it had come under “fire” on Friday in a dozen villages in the southern region.

The line of contact between the Ukrainian and Russian armies in the Zaporizhia region has largely not moved for several months and no major fighting has taken place there, unlike the regions of Kherson (south), until in November, and Donetsk (east), the current epicenter of the clashes.

Around Bakhmout, fighting remained intense Friday between Ukrainian and Russian armies, supported by the paramilitary group Wagner, designated Friday as an international criminal organization by the United States.

According to a senior American official, Ukraine should however focus on a major counter-offensive in the spring, and not on the defense of this city which is now largely devastated and almost emptied of its population.

But Bakhmout has become a political issue and a major symbol: Volodymyr Zelensky went to the front line in December to galvanize his troops, while Russia would like to announce success after a series of setbacks in the fall.

In the Moscow region, the Russian army has also announced that it has conducted air defense exercises to protect its essential infrastructure in the event of “air attacks”.

” Go forward ”





In Kyiv, Volodymyr Zelensky and Olena Zelenska, as well as members of the Ukrainian government paid their last respects on Saturday to the Minister of the Interior, Denys Monastyrsky, who died on Wednesday in a helicopter crash with 13 other people.

President Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska arrived at the ceremony dressed in black, carrying bouquets of flowers, to comfort the families of the victims, noted an AFP journalist.


PHOTO SERGEI SUPINSKY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Photos of Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky and six employees of his ministry appeared next to their coffins.

Inside the building where the ceremony took place, located very close to Maidan Square in the heart of Kyiv, seven coffins were brought, carried by soldiers in ceremonial dress to the sound of a trumpet.

“They hadn’t been broken by the war and they didn’t allow anyone else to be broken apart from them,” the ceremony leader said, addressing hundreds of people.

At the end of the ceremony, an intelligence officer, Ilya Samoilenko, considered the loss of these officials to be “enormous”.

“We can take two days and mourn,” he said. “But we have to keep going. We have to move forward”.



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