Ukraine’s allies have promised Kiev a raft of new military aid worth billions of dollars despite Russia’s warnings against arming the former Soviet republic.
Ahead of a major donor meeting of the Kiev regime’s backers chaired by the United States at the US airbase in Ramstein, Germany on Friday, for a new round of talks on supplying Ukraine with more powerful weapons, Berlin pledged 100 tanks, the UK promised 600 brimstone missiles, and Denmark vowed 19 French-made Caesar howitzers, while Sweden said it would send its Archer artillery system as part of the West’s "considerably" big new weapons shipment to Ukraine.
Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas told AFP that “some countries will send" tanks to Ukraine, promising "more news tomorrow" at the meeting in Ramstein Air Base.
As the pledges came in, senior Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak said it was "time to stop trembling at (Russian leader Vladimir) Putin and take the final step". "Ukraine needs tanks; tanks -- the key to end war properly," Podolyak said on Twitter.
Earlier Thursday, Ukraine's foreign and defense ministries urged allies to "considerably" boost arms deliveries, calling on countries that have Leopard tanks, including Germany and Turkey, to send them.
The new promises flew in the face of a Kremlin warning against an "extremely dangerous" escalation.
The Kremlin warned on Thursday of escalating the conflict to a "whole new level" if the West meets Ukraine's latest calls for longer-range weapons.
Such an attempt by the West means “bringing the conflict to a whole new level, which, of course, will not bode well from the point of view of global and pan-European security."
Risk of nuclear war
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, warned the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Thursday that the defeat of Russia in Ukraine could trigger a nuclear war.
"The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war," Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Putin's powerful Security Council, said in a post on Telegram.
"Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends," said Medvedev, who served as president from 2008 to 2012.
Medvedev said the western officials due to meet at Ramstein on Friday to talk about strategy and support for the West's attempt to defeat Russia in Ukraine, should think twice about the risks of what they want to do.
Russia has 5,977 nuclear warheads while the United States has 5,428, China 350, France 290 and the United Kingdom 225, according to the Federation of American Scientists. Russia started its "special military operation" in Ukraine with the declared aim of "de-Nazifying" the country on February 24, 2022. Since then, the US and Europe have imposed waves of unprecedented economic sanctions on Moscow and have given Ukraine tens of billions of dollars' worth of weaponry, including rocket systems, drones, armored vehicles and communications systems. The Kremlin has warned time and again that the West’s sanctions and military support will only prolong the war and not stop Russia from achieving its declared objectives in the pro-Russian areas of Ukraine.