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Shortly after a three-hour meeting with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock during her unannounced visit to the northeastern city of Kharkiv on Jan. 10, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed confidence that Germany will hand over to Ukraine the long-pledged Leopard tanks.
“Every minute during the visit, the topic of Leopards invisibly accompanied us,” Kuleba said, adding that tanks are needed for Ukrainian cities and villages liberation from the Russian occupation.
“I think that the German government, somewhere deep down, understands that this decision will be made, and the tanks will be transferred to Ukraine. The only upsetting thing is that this decision has not been made yet, and we are losing precious time and lives because of this,” the foreign minister said.
Kuleba added he was grateful to Germany for all the support during almost 11 months of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
On the same day, Politico reported that France is putting pressure on Berlin to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine ahead of a Franco-German summit on Jan. 22. Poland is also exerting pressure on Berlin by publicly calling for a broad coalition among Western allies to hand over Leopards to Ukraine, the report said.
After months of negotiations, Germany announced on Jan. 5 that it would provide Ukraine with Marder infantry fighting vehicles. The United States jointly announced it would give Ukraine Bradley fighting vehicles the same day.
During her visit, Baerbock announced 20 million euros' worth of German financial support for the operation of over 10,000 Starlink terminals in Ukraine, of which a third are being used by the Armed Forces.