KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday heaped pressure on Western allies to provide Kyiv with more heavy weapons to fight Russia on the eve of a key donor meeting.
A day after a helicopter crash outside Kyiv killed one of his key ministers, the Ukrainian leader called out Germany for its hesitance to supply its modern Leopard tanks — unless the United States also gives tanks.
“There are times where we shouldnâ€™t hesitate or shouldnâ€™t compare,” Zelensky told the annual World Economic Forum gathering in Davos via video-link.
“When someone says â€˜I will give tanks if someone else will also share tanksâ€™… I donâ€™t think this is the right strategy to go with.”
Zelenskyâ€™s latest impassioned plea for weapons comes a day before the United States, Kyivâ€™s main backer, convenes a meeting of around 50 countries — including all 30 members of the NATO alliance — at the US-run Ramstein military base in Germany to discuss military aid to Ukraine.
“The main message there (in Ramstein) will be more support and more advanced support, heavier weapons, and more modern weapons, because this is a fight for our values,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said in Davos on Wednesday.
Many of Ukraineâ€™s allies have announced plans to step up their military support to Kyiv this month despite the risk of antagonising Russia, notably Britain, which over the weekend became the first Western nation to pledge heavy tanks.
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