Ukraine Latest: Germany Signals Approval for Poles to Send Tanks

Poland said it plans to build a “smaller coalition” of nations prepared to deliver tanks to Ukraine.

Boris Pistorius.
Boris Pistorius.

Russia’s defense ministry claimed advances in the Zaporizhzhia region, where fighting has intensified after a lull. Offensive operations “have resulted in taking more advantageous lines and positions,” the ministry said. Ukraine’s general staff said over 25 settlements in Zaporizhzhia Oblast area came under artillery fire in the past day. 

Germany’s foreign minister suggested it wouldn’t “stand in the way” if Poland decided to send their Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Also, the German defense minister acknowledged for the first time that Ukraine will need battle tanks to regain territory.

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kyiv and urged Ukraine’s allies to “double down” on support.  

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On the Ground

Russia’s defense ministry said its forces are making advances in the Zaporizhzhia region. Kremlin troops hit a critical infrastructure facility in the Zaporizhzhia region with a missile, along with five aviation strikes and more than 20 salvos from MLRS on Sunday, Ukraine’s General Staff said on Facebook. Russia is also “likely making incremental gains” around Bakhmut, the hotly-contested city in Donetsk, said the Institute for the Study of War. Russia has recently increased the use of aviation in the Bakhmut offensive. Ukrainian aviation delivered 14 strikes at Russian strongholds and three strikes at Russian anti-aircraft complexes. 

(All times CET) 

Germany Signals It’s Ready to Allow Poland to Send Tanks (10:34 a.m.)

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock suggested Germany would “not stand in the way” if Poland decided to send their Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Baerbock, in comments to the LCI TV channel after a Franco-German summit in Paris, said that Poland hasn’t yet requested an export permit for the German-made tanks. 

“If the Poles send them, you wouldn’t oppose it?” Baerbock was asked.

“You’ve understood me well,” she said.

A decision from the German government would depend on an approval by the economy ministry. So far Poland has not filed a request but it’s repeatedly said it’s ready to send 14 of its Leopard tanks with a coalition of countries.

German Defense Minister Says Ukraine Needs Tanks to Take Territory (10:23 p.m.)

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has for the first time acknowledged that Ukraine forces will need battle tanks in order to regain territory, but continued to leave open whether Germany will deliver such tanks. 

“It is totally clear that tanks and offensive movements will be needed with regard to Donbas and Luhansk,” Pistorius told public broadcaster ARD Sunday night. “But we will have to see how exactly this will be achieved. There are also other states which could contribute something here.”

US Lawmaker Urges Biden to Send Abrams Tanks to Ukraine (5 p.m.)

The US should send its Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine as a way of opening the floodgates to German-made tanks, a top GOP lawmaker said. 

Germany “won’t put one tank in until we give them reassurances we’re going to put our Abrams in,” said Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “If we did that publicly, that would unleash so many Leopard tanks, because there are 10 other nations that are looking for Germany to sign off on the tanks.”  

McCaul also said Congressional support for Ukraine funding would continue even with Republicans holding a majority in the House. 

Medvedev Says Russia Faces Longer, More Difficult War (4:40 p.m.) 

As Ukraine allies agreed to increase the supplies of heavy weapons, Russia will face a more protracted and difficult war, Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s first deputy head of Security Council, said Sunday on Telegram. 

The Ramstein summit of donors on Friday “leaves no doubt that our enemies will try to wear us down, or rather - destroy us. And they have enough weapons, If needed they will produce new,” he said.  

Johnson Meets Zelenskiy, Urges Weapons Donations (2 p.m.)

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kyiv on Sunday to meet with Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the Ukrainian president’s request. He also visited the town of Bucha, northwest of the capital, site of alleged atrocities by Russian forces during their occupation in the early months of the war. 

“The only way to end this war is for Ukraine to win – and to win as fast as possible,” Johnson said in a statement. “This is the moment to double down, and to give the Ukrainians all the tools they need to finish the job.”  

Current UK leader Rishi Sunak this month announced the donation of Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. 

Ukrainian Deputy Minister Dismissed in Corruption Probe (1:50 a.m.)

Ukrainian government dismissed Vasyl Lozynskyi, deputy minister of communities, development and infrastructure, in line with its principle of “zero tolerance” toward corruption, according to a statement on the cabinet’s website. 

Ukrainian anti-corruption officials detained Lozynskyi amid investigation for abuse of office and bribery, Ukrainska Pravda reported late Saturday citing officials it didn’t identify. The news outlet said an investigation was initiated in September. 

Italy to Send Missile Defense Equipment (10 a.m.)

Italy has provided five defense aid packages to Ukraine so far of about 1 billion euros ($1.09 billion) and is preparing a sixth, Antonio Tajani, deputy prime minister and foreign minister, said in an interview with Corriere della Sera. It will include the SAMP-T air defense missile system to be provided in collaboration with France, he said.

Tajani said it must be clear to Ukraine’s allies “that we must do everything possible to help this nation in its battle for independence.”

“At a general level, the global consequences of the conflict, especially in terms of food and energy security, continue to be heavy,” he said. 

Poland Plans Coalition to Transfer Tanks (9:20 a.m.)

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki described as “unacceptable” Germany’s reluctance to send Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine in an interview with PAP state newswire on Sunday.

The Polish government is going to build a “smaller coalition” of countries willing to deliver tanks, he said. Poland wants to send 14 German-made combat vehicles. Morawiecki has signaled previously that his government may do so without consent from Berlin, which is currently required.

Two Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces.Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images Europe
Two Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces.Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images Europe

German Defense Chief to Visit Ukraine Soon (12 a.m.)

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has announced that he will travel to Ukraine as soon as possible. “What is certain is that I will travel to Ukraine quickly. Probably even within the next four weeks,” Pistorius told newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Regarding the decision on the delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine Pistorius said: “We are in very close dialog on this issue with our international partners, first and foremost with the USA. In order to be best prepared for possible decisions, I instructed my ministry on Friday to check everything to such an extent that we do not lose unnecessary time if the worst comes to the worst.”

Boris Pistorius.Photographer: Liesa Johannssen/Bloomberg
Boris Pistorius.Photographer: Liesa Johannssen/Bloomberg

Russia’s RT Says Its French Unit Will Close (6 p.m.)

RT France, a unit of the Russian television channel RT, said it was closing after the French government froze its bank accounts. 

“Under the guise of the 9th package of sanctions against Russia, which doesn’t target our channel but our shareholder and parent company, the Treasury has decided to freeze RT France’s accounts, making it impossible to continue operating,” it wrote in a statement published on the Twitter account of Xenia Fedorova, the channel’s president. 

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