The United States appears poised to start a process that would eventually send dozens of its M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, US media reported, in a reversal that could have significant implications for Kyiv’s efforts to repel Russian forces.
The move follows reports on Tuesday that Berlin has succumbed to huge international and domestic pressure and was set to announce that it will send German-manufactured tanks to Ukraine, and allow other countries to do the same.
The decision is expected to be made officially on Wednesday and Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, is due to be questioned in the Bundestag in the morning in a debate likely to be dominated by the tank decision.
El País in Spain is reporting that the Madrid government is poised to commit to sending tanks to Ukraine.
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday he was confident the alliance will find a solution soon, after meeting Germany’s defence minister. “At this pivotal moment in the war, we must provide heavier and more advanced systems to Ukraine, and we must do it faster,” Stoltenberg said.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Tuesday that Kyiv needed allies to decide on whether they would deliver modern tanks to strengthen the country’s defence against Russia. Zelenskiy said the issue was not about five, 10 or 15 tanks, as Ukraine’s needs are greater, but about reaching final decisions on real deliveries. “When the needed weighty decisions are made, we will be happy to thank you for each weighty decision,” Zelenskiy said.
Ukraine’s state broadcaster Suspilne has reported that in the last 24 hours one person was killed in Kherson oblast due to Russian shelling, six others were injured, ten others were wounded in Donetsk oblast. It said over the past 24 hours, the Russian Federation carried out four missile and 26 airstrikes, as well as more than 100 shellings from multiple launch rocket systems in Ukraine. At the same time, the aviation of the Ukrainian defence forces carried out eight strikes on areas where Russian troops were concentrated, destroyed an SU-25 and three KA-52 attack helicopters.
In Ukraine, fifteen senior officials have left their posts since Saturday, six of whom have had corruption allegations levelled at them by journalists and Ukraine’s anti-corruption authorities. The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said on Tuesday he had asked Zelenskiy on Monday to relieve him of his duties as part of the wave of government resignations and dismissals.
Deputy defence minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov, responsible for supplying troops with food and equipment, also resigned, citing “media accusations” of corruption that he and the ministry say are baseless. Deputy prosecutor general Oleksiy Symonenko has been removed from his post, and two deputy ministers resigned from Ukraine’s ministry of communities and territories development.
Five regional governors are also being removed from power including Valentyn Reznichenko, of Dnipropetrovsk, Oleksandra Starukha of Zaporizhzhia, Dymtro Zhivytskyi, of Sumy and Yaroslav Yanushevich, of Kherson. Kherson and Zaporizhizhia are two of the regions of Ukraine which the Russian Federation has claimed to annex. Oleksiy Kuleba was also removed as governor on Kyiv on Tuesday, but has been appointed deputy head of the president’s office as part of the reshuffle. On Wednesday prosecutor general Andriy Kostin signed orders on the voluntary dismissal of the heads of the Zaporizhzhia, Kirovohrad, Poltava, Sumy, and Chernihiv regional prosecutor’s offices.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has set its Doomsday Clock, intended to illustrate existential risks to the world, at 90 seconds to midnight, the closest to midnight the clock has ever been since it was first introduced in 1947. It is “largely” because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they said. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov reacted Wednesday by saying “The situation as a whole is really alarming”, blaming Nato and the US.
The Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday the frigate Admiral Gorshkov has tested its strike capabilities in the western Atlantic Ocean. In a statement, the ministry said the frigate had run a computer simulation on hypersonic Zircon missiles. Zircon missiles have a range of 900km (560 miles), and can travel at several times the speed of sound, making it difficult to defend against them.
Ukraine has enough coal and gas reserves for the remaining months of winter despite repeated Russian attacks on its energy system, prime minister Denys Shmyhal has said.
Finland’s foreign minister Pekka Haavisto signalled on Tuesday a possible pause in discussions with Turkey over Finnish ambitions to join Nato alongside Sweden, which he says is due to the pressure of Turkey’s forthcoming election.
Supporters of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gathered for a protest in Berlin on Tuesday to highlight the prison conditions in Russia he is being kept in.
Russia does not plan to rebuild the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol which were the site of heavy bombardment in the early weeks of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
Russian football officials met their counterparts at Uefa on Tuesday as they tried to negotiate Russia’s return to international football in Europe. It has been banned by Uefa and Fifa since the invasion of Ukraine.