The next two or three weeks will be decisive for Ukraine and the whole world, President of the European Council Charles Michel said in an interview with Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo on Jan. 22.
“What happens in 2023, and much more depends on the next few weeks, is what will determine our future,” he said.
“We must be with Ukraine and provide them with all the necessary support. We cannot let them down.”
According to Michel, Ukraine should receive tanks from the West, and he supports their immediate transfer.
He added that “hot debates” continue on this issue, in particular regarding their supply by Germany.
The official emphasized that for Europe, Ukraine’s defeat in the war could become “an extremely dangerous precedent for the future.”
“Europe cannot be free and safe without free and safe Ukraine,” the politician said.
The EU foreign ministers will discuss military aid to Ukraine at a meeting on Jan. 23.
Earlier on Jan. 20, defense ministers of Ukraine’s international partners gathered at the U.S. Air Force Ramstein base in Germany.
They agreed that Ukraine would receive the following armaments in near future:
- Anti-air systems from France, Germany, and the UK – including a German Patriot air defense battery;
- Patriot missiles and launchers from the Netherlands;
- A Canada-purchased NASAMS air defense system for Ukraine;
- Challenger-2 main battle tanks from the UK;
- CV90 infantry fighting vehicles and Archer howitzers from Sweden;
- The entire fleet of Denmark’s CAESAR self-propelled howitzers – 19 units;
- Helicopters and Stinger MANPADS from Latvia;
- A military aid package from Estonia, including large quantities of 155mm artillery shells.
In addition, the United States will provide Ukraine with:
- 59 more Bradley infantry fighting vehicles;
- 90 Stryker combat vehicles;
- 53 mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, known as MRAPs;
- 350 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (Humvees).
At the same time, Germany has not yet made a decision to provide Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported earlier, referring to own sources, that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made it clear to U.S. President Joe Biden during their meeting on Jan. 18 that he would approve the supply of Leopard tanks to Ukraine only if the U.S. pledged its Abrams tanks.
In contrast to German dithering, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced during his visit to Lviv on Jan. 11 that the Ukrainian army would receive a company of Leopard tanks supplied by an international coalition.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö has also indicated his country’s willingness to supply a small number of Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
However, Germany’s consent will be necessary for these deliveries, as it has final say over the re-export of German-made arms.