Russia-Ukraine war: Kyiv moves closer to securing German-made tanks

Dutch to send Patriot missile defence system to Ukraine

Ukraine is a step closer to winning approval for German-made modern battle tanks to confront Russian forces and has secured a pledge of more Patriot defence missiles as its allies appear ready to rally for the next phase of the war.

Germany’s Leopard 2 tank, operated by armies in about 20 countries, is regarded as one of the West’s best. The tank weighs more than 60 tonnes and can hit targets at a distance of up to 5km.

Ukraine, which has relied mainly on Soviet-era T-72 tank variants, says the new tanks would give its ground troops more mobility and protection ahead of a broadly expected fresh Russian offensive as well as help retake some of its territory.

Germany has been the West’s biggest holdout on pledging tanks, but a cabinet minister said on Tuesday the issue would be the first to be decided by new Defence Minister Boris Pistorius.


He will host US defence secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday ahead of a meeting on Friday of dozens of defence ministers at Ramstein airbase in Germany.

Western countries have provided a steady supply of weapons to Ukraine since Russia invaded last Feb. 24 in what it calls a “special military operation”.

In Washington, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands told US president Joe Biden of Dutch plans to offer the US-made Patriot missile defence system to Ukraine.

This is in addition to pledges by the United States and Germany to send Patriot missile systems to Ukraine.

The training of Ukrainian officers to operate Patriot advanced long-range air defence system will last 10 weeks, Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said.

In the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro, the civilian death toll from a missile that struck an apartment block on Saturday rose to 45, including six children, among them an 11-month-old boy, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his video address. Ukrainian authorities called off the search for survivors on Tuesday.

Mr Zelenskiy is to speak on Wednesday to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Elsewhere, Russia claims to have captured the small mining town of Soledar near Bakhmut, but Kyiv says its forces are still fighting there.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is due to visit St Petersburg on Wednesday, the 80th anniversary of the day Soviet forces managed to open a narrow land corridor to the city – then known as Leningrad – and break a Nazi blockade that had lasted since September 1941. – Reuters